Eighth International Workshop on X-ray Radiation Damage (RD8)

Hamburg, 10th - 12th April, 2014

From Thursday 10th April to Saturday 12th April, 80 scientists from across the world took part in the 8th International Workshop on X-ray Radiation Damage to Biological Crystalline Samples hosted by EMBL Hamburg and DESY on the DESY campus. Taking place every two years at a synchrotron site, the renowned workshop series provides an arena for discussion on the effects of radiation damage caused during investigation of biological structures by X-ray crystallography.

This year’s workshop consisted of 25 invited presentations covering recent results, practical understanding and new challenges to the field. The program allowed ample room for discussion, as part of the talks, and during the coffee, lunch and evening get-togethers. On the Saturday morning, the participants also had the opportunity to visit the new PETRA III beamlines and the XFEL construction site in Schenefeld.


















Workshop "Strategic pipeline planning: from sample preparation to 3D structure determination with bio SAXS and other biophysical techniques"

Athens, National Hellenic Research Foundation (NHRF), 5th - 10th April 2014


The workshop was held from the 5th to the 10th of April 2014 at the National Hellenic Research Foundation (NHRF) in Athens, Greece.

The aim of the workshop was to increase researchers’ awareness on the facilities and services provided in Europe and capitalize on the investment that has already been made towards promoting innovative research. This was fully achieved by all speakers, who portrayed the opportunities available at EU RIs either as hosts or as users. All participants had a chance to closely interact with the speakers throughout the workshop and also during the brainstorming and problem solving session.

The participants presented posters with their work and gave a brief talk on their projects. They also had a chance to hear about the funding opportunities available in the frame of Horizon 2020 and challenges in the career development session.

Training Course in Complementary Optical Spectroscopies in Macromolecular Crystallography

Grenoble, 19th - 21st September 2012

The first edition of a training course in complementary optical spectroscopies in macromolecular crystallography (COSMX) was held in Grenoble from Sept. 19-21. It was organized by ESRF, IBS and EMBL, in collaboration with the Swiss Light Source and Diamond. Financial support was provided by BioStruct-X and the ESRF. The first day was dedicated to courses on the various instruments, techniques and methods available on structural biology beamlines at all three synchrotrons. Practicals were held during the second day on beamlines. Participants were encouraged to bring samples from their own research projects. The final half-day was devoted to application examples and a wrap-up discussion.

A total of 18 participants, PhD students, post-docs and young scientists, from 8 different countries, attended lectures given by a total of 13 tutors on the manifold aspects of optical spectroscopies applied to macromolecular crystals. Practicals on beamlines ID14-EH1 (online UV-vis absorption microspec), ID23-EH2 (UV-RIP) and ID29 (online Raman) and at the Cryobench (ID29S – offline UV-vis absorption and fluorescence microspec) were supervised by staff from the ESRF, IBS, EMBL and SLS, using state-of-the-art in-house-conceived instrumentation. Feedback from participants was very positive in general (see below). Most of them were able to record good-quality spectra out of their samples, which promotes the use of complementary optical spectroscopy in crystallo and should result in new experimental proposals at the ESRF and other synchrotrons.

First EMBL Advanced Course on Hybrid Structural Biology Approaches held at EMBL Hamburg

Hamburg, 11th - 16th June 2012

From the 11th – 16th June 2012, EMBL Hamburg hosted the first EMBL Advanced Course on Hybrid Structural Biology Approaches. Sixteen students from across Europe attended the 6 day course which included lectures and practical sessions on Sample Preparation and Characterization, Small Angle X-ray Scattering, Marcomolecular Crystallography and Electron Microscopy. The second half of the course included software demonstrations on how to evaluate and combine the data from the different techniques.

Highlights also included plenary talks by Jean van den Elsen from the University of Bath, UK on using a hybrid structural biology approach for a multienzyme complex assembly, and Savvas Savvides from the University of Gent in Belgium who spoke about the diversity of hematopoietic cytokine-receptor complexes revealed by hybrid methods in structural biology. The students also presented their own research in a number of lively sessions.

The feedback from the students was generally positive, and the overall feeling was that the course was a success. “The atmosphere of the course has been great and it was been good to hear how other groups use hybrid approaches to tackle their research projects. I now have a good overview of the techniques presented here and ideas on how to move forward with my own research” said one participant. “Hybrid approaches in structural biology are becoming more and more important.” said Matthias Wilmanns head of EMBL Hamburg and one of the course organizers, “Bringing together students and experts from different scientific backgrounds has led to a lively exchange of ideas and thoughts. We hope this is something that can be transferred to the entire structural biology community”.

The course was supported by the EU projects BioStruct-X, Instruct and PCUBE.

EMBO Practical Course on the Structural Characterization of Macromolecular Complexes

Grenoble, 4th - 9th June

From the 4th – 9th June 2012, the EMBO Practical Course on the Structural Characterisation of Macromolecular Complexes took place in Grenoble, France. Twenty students from 18 different nationalities took part in the course which consisted of a series of 24 lectures and 12 practical sessions. The aim of this course was to teach participants how to expedite structural biology projects involving macromolecular complexes by exploiting diverse experimental approaches, and covered topics including recombinant co-expression, library methods for protein expression, biophysical interaction assays, interaction databases, yeast two-hybrid methods, DARPin technology, mass spectrometry, small-angle scattering, NMR, X-ray crystallography, and electron microscopy.  A number of participants also brought their own samples to characterize during the practicals.  Feedback was highly positive by both speakers and participants alike.

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