The role of BIOXHIT Training, Implementation and Dissemination (TID) Centres in the use of highly automated macromolecular crystallography beamlines
Poznan TID Centre - Mariusz Jaskolski
The Poznan TID Centre used the support from BIOXHIT to organize a modern computer laboratory for training activities and acquire equipment and accessories for crystal handling and shipping and for the implementation of the remote data collection strategy. Two practical workshops on “Structural Biology with Synchrotron Radiation” have been organized every year and thus trained about 150 students. The workshops have been cost-free to graduate and postgraduate students coming from all over Europe and sometimes quite far away (China, Mexico). Leading European (and occasionally American) experts in synchrotron protein crystallography give lectures and teach small-group hands-on practicals, providing the students with exposure to the situation they will face at macromolecular synchrotron beamlines, which includes live data collection sessions at the ESRF. The three day workshop ESRF includes an afternoon get-together (with famous “TID cakes”) and a cultural event. Anonymous surveys of participants’ opinions have been extremely candid and useful. We hope to be able to carry this mission beyond the official timeframe of BIOXHIT.
Oulu TID centre – Rik Wierenga
The first activities of the Oulu TID centre were to become familiar with the most recent data-collection and data-processing protocols used by the BIOXHIT partners. After visits to the ESRF, Grenoble and to the MOSFLM developers at the MRC-LMB, Cambridge in 2005, the first two courses were organized on this theme in 2006. The courses were held in our Linux class room, at the Dept. of Biochemistry, co-sponsored by the Biocenter Oulu. Also in the subsequent two courses, in 2007 and 2008, data collection protocols were included. In 2007, the BUSTER/TNT and SHARP software of Global Phasing Ltd. were presented and remote data collection at the ESRF was demonstrated. In 2008, the course included remote data collection at the ESRF as well as the use of the structure determination pipeline software of the CCP4 package. The last two courses also provided good opportunities for the students to work with their own data. Altogether 84 participants have attended our courses where 24 tutors, mainly from the BIOXHIT partners, have provided a unique forum for in depth discussions with the students. The majority of the participants were from the Nordic and other European countries; altogether the participants originated from 14 different countries, including Israel and India. Our TID activities have also included software (DNA) testing and preparation of manuals and training videos (www.dna.ac.uk/). Another important activity has been our involvement in the remote data collection setup at the ESRF. In this context we have been involved in brainstorming and testing of the e-HTPX and ISPyB database development, which is an integral part of the remote data collection protocol.
Lisbon TID centre – Maria Armenia Carrondo
Greek TID Centre – Kyriacos Petratos
The Greek TID-Centre for BIOXHIT is a joint effort of the protein crystallographers at the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (IMBB) of the Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas (FORTH) in Heraklion, Crete and the Institute of Organic and Pharmaceutical Chemistry (IOPC) of the National Hellenic Research Foundation (NHRF) in Athens. The centre used BIOXHIT seed-money for several powerful computers that are running up-to-date programs for crystal structure determination and analysis of biological macromolecules. Our Centre has collaborated with the Finnish centre on the preparation of DNA training material. A BIOXHIT supported course on crystallization, data collection and processing was run June 2008 in Heraklion.
The TID centres have played a very important role in training European macromolecular crystallographers. More than 300 European crystallographers have received thorough training at the TID centres making them highly qualified users of the synchrotron beamlines for macromolecular crystallography. The concept of TID centres may also be useful in other projects, resulting in massive amounts of information that can be disseminated to a large scientific community.
The BIOXHIT TID committee