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International Union of Crystallography

The IUCr is an International Scientific Union adhering to the International Science Council. Its objectives are to promote international cooperation in crystallography and to contribute to all aspects of crystallography, to promote international publication of crystallographic research, to facilitate standardization of methods, units, nomenclatures and symbols, and to form a focus for the relations of crystallography to other sciences.

IUCr Newsletter




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25th IUCr Congress postponed until August 2021

[IUCr2021 logo]In view of the coronavirus pandemic, it has been decided to postpone the 25th IUCr Congress until August 2021. Please see the following statement from the Congress Chair, Radomír Kuzel:

The organizers of IUCr2020 continued in their preparations for the Congress despite the uncertain situation until very recently. The development of the coronavirus pandemic is rapid and spread all over the world.

The Czech government introduced very strong restrictions at quite an early stage and our border is completely closed. It is similar in many other countries. Predictions and models show quite a lengthy development that will probably last for months. Even in the case that we are allowed technically to organize the Congress this August, many people will not be willing to travel, people from some countries may not be allowed to leave their countries or enter the Czech Republic, the sessions may not be filled and overall the Congress could easily end up in disaster. A few days ago, we were contacted by the Prague Congress Centre. Most of the other summer events have been now postponed to next summer and they urgently needed our decision, if we wanted to do the same. The only possible time in 2021 is 13–22 August, which we fortunately booked a couple of weeks ago to have in reserve.
[The Congress will open on 14 August with workshops and exhibition installation taking place on 13 August.]

Then we started discussions with the IUCr Executive Committee (EC), which responded quickly with a clear recommendation to postpone all planned crystallographic meetings by one year, if possible. This was a critical issue for ECM33, which was scheduled to take place in Versailles, France, in August 2021. Fortunately, our French colleagues replied very quickly that this would not be a problem in principle, and the ECA is also prepared to move ECM33 to August 2022. We are very grateful for this. Of course, there are also other meetings that may be forced to be postponed. Finally, the IUCr EC approved the postponement of the Congress at its virtual meeting on 25 March 2020.

It was not an easy decision. We are very sorry for all the participants who have registered and were looking forward to the Congress and to visiting Prague. Nobody knows what will happen next year but by postponing the Congress we have at least a good chance that the situation will be better, and that we will have a nice meeting as planned. Simply, we arrived at the decision that the organization of IUCr2020 this August is already too risky, and it loses its main sense. We also wanted to avoid the situation where we would be forced to cancel the meeting a few days before the start, as has already happened to some large congresses. The situation is extraordinary and has never happened before.

We are awfully sorry for those who have already made reservations (travel, accommodation) and hope that they will be able to get their money back. The registered people and companies will receive separate emails.

We are going to keep the original scheme with respect to weekdays, and to keep current reservations for the exhibition unless they are cancelled.

The information on the Congress website will be updated shortly.

Posted 26 Mar 2020 

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Covid-19 and the IUCr

As with the rest of the world, we are doing our best to preserve the health and well-being of our staff while still providing the levels of service to which you are accustomed. In line with UK government guidance, we are encouraging our staff to work from home as much as possible to minimise the risks to them. We have a small but highly professional staff and I know they will do their best to keep things running to the best of their ability during this difficult time for everyone. Please contact us by email as we cannot guarantee that there will be someone in the office to answer the telephone. We would like to thank you in advance for your patience and support, and wish you all good health and good luck.

Alex Ashcroft, IUCr Executive Secretary

Posted 18 Mar 2020 

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Gender Equity and Diversity Committee

The IUCr Gender Equity and Diversity Committee, formed in 2019, has produced a Code of Conduct and a Gender Equity and Diversity Statement, and is keen to receive your feedback and suggestions. Details of the Committee along with downloadable copies of the Code of Conduct and the Statement can be found here. Please send your comments to gedc@iucr.org.

Posted 18 Mar 2020 

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Crystallographers unite to tackle coronavirus

With stories about coronavirus dominating the news, it is encouraging to hear that crystallographers around the world are making strong contributions to the efforts to find a vaccine. Here are some that we have heard about. We would be very pleased to hear about more via IUCr social media.

[Jason McLellan Fox News]

At the University of Texas (UT) at Austin, USA, Jason McLellan has used cryo-EM to determine the structure of the coronavirus spike protein. After Chinese scientists released the sequence of the new coronavirus, Dr McLellan and his team engineered a variant of the spike protein to increase its stability and expression for study, and ordered the nucleic acid to be synthesized for the modified spike protein. Within 25 days of receiving the engineered nucleic acid, they cloned the gene, expressed the protein, isolated it, used the UT Austin's cryo-EM facility to determine the structure and submitted their paper to Science, where it has already been published. IUCr Immediate Past President, Marvin Hackert, used the coordinates from Dr McLellan to produce a 3D printed model, which was shown by Dr McLellan on US national news.

Meanwhile, the recent Joint Polish–German Crystallographic Meeting in Breslau/Wroclaw, Poland, started with a Plenary Lecture by Rolf Hilgenfeld (University of Lübeck, Germany) entitled “From SARS to MERS and the 2020 Wuhan pneumonia virus – How X-ray crystallography can help fight emerging viruses.” Results were presented that had only been obtained that day. More on these stories will be published in the forthcoming issue of the IUCr Newsletter.

IUCr Journals support the policies outlined in the 2016 joint statement on data sharing in public health emergencies, and will ensure that any research findings of relevance are rapidly shared with the World Health Organization.

 

More contributions:

https://www.aps.anl.gov/APS-News/2020-03-02/new-coronavirus-protein-reveals-drug-target/2020-03-02/new-coronavirus-protein

https://www.dailytargum.com/article/2020/03/rutgers-professor-explains-coronavirus-research

https://www.diamond.ac.uk/covid-19.html

https://www.diamond.ac.uk/covid-19/for-scientists/Main-protease-structure-and-XChem.html

https://www.ebi.ac.uk/ena/pathogens/covid-19 

Posted 28 Feb 2020 

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IUCr implements Smart Citations from scite

[IUCr journals_scite]

The IUCr has partnered with scite (Brooklyn, NY, USA), an award-winning platform for discovering and evaluating scientific articles. With this partnership, full-text articles from IUCr journals will be analysed and indexed by scite, improving the discoverability of IUCr articles and further improving the coverage of scite. Additionally, IUCr articles will also now display Smart Citations from scite, allowing readers to better see how an article has been cited by subsequent articles and, specifically, if they have provided supporting or contradicting evidence.

To date, scite has classified 480 million citation statements from 15 million scientific articles and is used by researchers from dozens of countries around the world. scite is funded in part by grants from the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health.

Josh Nicholson, co-founder and CEO of scite says, “We’re excited to work with the IUCr to implement Smart Citations. I worked in a crystallography lab as an undergraduate so I’m happy to be working with this community again to make it easier to discover and evaluate research.” Peter Strickland, Executive Managing Editor for IUCr journals says, “IUCr journals values this new partnership with scite and the innovative use of deep learning to provide new ways of navigating the scientific literature.”

Posted 24 Feb 2020

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Mitchell Guss honoured in Australia Day 2020 Honours List

[Mitchell Guss]We send our congratulations to Mitchell Guss, Emeritus Professor at the University of Sydney and former member of the IUCr Executive Committee (2011–2017), who has been made an Officer (AO) in the General Division of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to education and scientific research in the field of molecular bioscience, and to professional organisations. Professor Guss is a pioneer of protein crystallography in Australia and his research has focused on the way in which the versatile properties of metal ions are exploited by biological systems. He chaired the IUCr Commission on Biological Macromolecules from 1999 to 2005, during which time the Commission produced "Guidelines for the deposition and release of macromolecular coordinate and experimental data." To cater for the high-throughput requirements of the structural genomics community, IUCr Journals launched Acta Cryst. F in 2005, with Professor Guss as one of the founding Editors.

Retiring from the IUCr Commission on Journals in 2014 after a commendable 14 years' service, h
e has continued to prepare and promote publication guidelines, especially in connection with structural modelling of small-angle scattering data from biomolecules in solution, and champions the preservation of raw data; for a full list of his articles in IUCr Journals, please see here.

Other eminent positions held include the presidency of the Society of Crystallographers in Australia and New Zealand (1995–1998), receiving their Lawrence Bragg Medal in 2018, and of the Asian Crystallographic Association from 2008 to 2010 (see photo).

On hearing the news of his award, Professor Guss AO said: “I am truly grateful to be honoured in this way. I have been lucky and privileged to be able to undertake a career in science that has been more like a hobby to me than a job. Any honours I receive should rightly be shared by the wonderful colleagues and students I have worked with in the past 50 some years.”      

Posted 28 Jan 2020