Advanced Workshop on Structural Biology at CBB in Poznan

Poznan, Poland, November 2003

The Center for Biocrystallographic Research (CBB) at the Inst. of Bioorganic Chemistry, Polish Academy of Sciences in Poznan, Poland, has again been the site of an intensive practical course in protein crystallography. It was organized as an external course for the Ph.D. students of the Int’l Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) at the Max Planck Inst. (MPI) for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne, Germany. The 15 students from Cologne were joined for the lectures and practicals by nine young structural biologists from Polish laboratories. The organization of the course was supported by the MPI under the coordination of Guntram Bauer. The Polish coordinator was J, Stepkowska. The teaching staff included local faculty members M. Jaskolski (head of the organizing team), G, Bujacz, M, Sikorski, and W. Rypniewski, as well as invited experts M. Bochtler (Warsaw), J. Otlewski (Wroclaw), and Z. Dauter (NSLS/NCI, USA), who also gave a special keynote lecture on phasing macromolecular structures. The program consisted of six hands-on exercises attended by small student groups, and of eight general lectures, covering subjects from protein expression and crystallographic fundamentals to crystallographic methodology and frontiers, to protein-protein interactions. The practical classes conncerned protein purification and crystallization, macromolecular data collection and processing, the method of molecular replacement, and model building and analysis using molecular graphics. The topics instigated a lot of interest and discussions could be heard also during breaks and over an evening glass of beer. On one evening the group enjoyed a wonderful organ concert in the historical quarters of Poznan. It was the first external course offered by the IMPRS to their Ph.D. students. We hope that the seed of crystallographic fascination sown during the course will bear fruit in the future careers of the participants, who represented eight nations all over the world. Sponsorship was provided by UNESCO/PAN (Polish Network of Cell and Molecular Biology) and by Marresearch.

Mariusz Jaskolski (CBB, Poznan)