Meeting report

Unprecedented remote data collection tested at TID workshop

Poznan, Poland, November 28 – December 2, 2006

[Participants at Poznan]Participants and tutors at the The 3rd Workshop on Structural Biology and Synchrotron Radiation in Poznan, Poland.
The Poznan Training, Implementation and Dissemination (TID) Centre operating within the European BioXHIT project has organized its 3rd Workshop on “Structural Biology with Synchrotron Radiation”. The Workshop took place on November 28 - December 2, 2006, in the Center for Biocrystallographic Research (CBB), Inst. of Bioorganic Chemistry, Polish Academy of Sciences, where the TID Centre is affiliated. Twenty students from six European countries (Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Russia, Slovakia) participated in theoretical lectures and in hands-on practicals conducted in small groups. In addition to CBB staff (Mirek Gilski, Mariusz Jaskolski, Wojtek Rypniewski, Michal Sikorski), the instructor team included Wladek Minor (U. of Virginia, USA), Santosh Panjikar and Sasha Popov (EMBL, Hamburg), and Andrew Thompson (Soleil, France). In the tutorials the students were familiarized with protein crystal handling, cryofreezing and testing (Wojtek Rypniewski), with data collection strategies (Sasha Popov), with DNA (automateD collectioN of datA) (Mirek Gilski), and with the pipelining concept and structure solution on-the-fly (Wladek Minor - HKL3000, Santosh Panjikar - AutoRickshaw). The participants had a unique opportunity to eye-witness the first-ever live testing of remote data collection at a synchrotron site. For this purpose, Mirek Gilski in Poznan and Olof Svensson at beamline ID14 at the ESRF in Grenoble (France), both donning headphones and mikes and surrounded with computer screens and yards of cables, established an internet connection which enabled Mirek to remotely control synchrotron data collection via the DNA software. The procedure was quite spectacular and ended successfully with applause from the Poznan audience. This experiment has demonstrated that automated data collection controlled from a remote personal computer is perfectly feasible and we may soon see real synchrotron radiation experiments being conducted this way. In addition to learning protein crystallography and modern applications of synchrotron radiation in structural biology, the students also had an opportunity to listen to a recital of organ music, to take part in a gala dinner, and to explore a little bit of a fog-shrouded Poznan.

Mariusz Jaskolski
[DNA system]Mariusz Jaskolski (standing) watches as Mirek Gilski (seated) runs the data collection DNA system from Poznan. Olof Svensson (on the screen) watches the experiment at the ESRF site in Grenoble.