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Workshop on Hot Topics in Contemporary Crystallography

Šibenik, Croatia, May, 2014

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[Croatia workshop attendees] Participants at the workshop on Hot Topics in Contemporary Crystallography in Šibenik, Croatia.

The Croatian Association of Crystallographers, supported by the IUCr and ECA, organized a workshop to mark the International Year of Crystallography in Croatia. The workshop was organized to promote excellence and innovation in crystallography and to transfer state-of-the-art knowledge to the talented PhD students and postdocs in crystallography and related disciplines. The participation criteria were based on the students' CVs, recommendation letters and abstracts submitted. In addition to an intensive program (daily from 9 am to 10 pm), the participants presented 16 posters. The five most interesting abstracts were chosen to be presented in the form of short lectures. The invited lectures were: 'Hot topics in macromolecular crystallography' (E. Garman, U. of Oxford, UK), 'The whole is more than the sum of its parts' (H.-B. Bürgi, U. of Bern, Switzerland), 'Charge density' (D. Stalke, U. of Göttingen, Germany), 'Absolute structure and absolute configuration' (H. Flack, U. of Geneve, Switzerland), 'Twinning in crystallography' (R. Herbst-Irmer, U. of Göttingen, Germany) and 'Advanced solutions from the Cambridge Structural Database' (P. Wood, CCDC, UK). The selected topics are of great importance in structure determination and interpretation of data.

E. Garman told the story of her 18 years of research on TBNAT protein, published in Science 343 (2014), and described how to improve protein models through refinement of the electron-density map. Elspeth also gave a fine historical reminiscence on the 100 year anniversary of X-ray crystallography. Determination of the absolute structure of a molecule is of critical importance in pharmacology, biotechnology and enantioselective synthesis in organic chemistry. H.-B. Bürgi described dynamic crystallography based on analysis of displacement parameters with data collected at different temperatures to understand difficult examples of disorder. Residual density studies based on characteristics of electron structure and its modification provide information on the nature of intra- and intermolecular interactions that are essential in materials design. Knowledge gained from residual density studies used in syntheses of low-valent silicon compounds, accompanied by electron transfer, was presented by D. Stalke. R. Herbst-Irmer demonstrated how the problems of twinning can be overcome. P. Wood (CCDC) demonstrated the use of the CSD in polymorph analysis, crystal engineering and supramolecular chemistry.

Sixteen lectures and five intensive hands-on practical sessions made a high impact on the audience; discussions revealed a very sound level of knowledge and interest on the part of the young crystallographers. The inspiring atmosphere of the workshop was also supported by the presence of A. Roodt, the president of ECA. Thanks to donations, lodging and board expenses were covered for twenty participants.

The organizing committee of the workshop comprised A. Višnjevac, Chair, J. Popović, Co-Chair, M. Đaković, Program Coordinator, A. Šantić, Fund-raising Coordinator, and D. Matković-Čalogović and B. Kojić-Prodić, Scientific Advisors.

Biserka Kojić-Prodić