Group Activities

CCP4 Study Weekend - Jan 2017

From 9th - 11th Jan the annual CCP4 Study Weekend took place at the University of Nottingham and Elspeth, Charlie, Diane, Kathryn and Steve from the group attended. The meeting this year was titled 'From Crystal To Structure' as an overview to the full crystallographic pipeline, and Elspeth chaired a session on model validation and PDB deposition.

ACA meeting - July 2016

Elspeth and Charlie attended the 66th Annual American Crystallographic Association (ACA) meeting, taking place in Denver, Colorado, from 22nd-26th July. Elspeth was an invited speaker as the awardee of the Fankuchen award, for her great contributions to improve cryo-crystallography methods. Charlie was invited to speak as part of the Radiation Damage session, and for this he was awarded the Etter Student Award from the Light Source Special Interest Group.

Charlie  receiving his award from Dr Gerd Rosenbaum from the Advanced Light Source in Chicago:

GRC - July 2016

On 17th-22nd July, Elspeth and Charlie attended the Gordon Research Conference on Diffraction Methods (GRC) in Structural Biology, held at Bates College in Maine, USA. Elspeth presented a talk on the microPIXE technique for high precision element detection, which received a great amount of interest from the audience. Charlie presented a poster on his RIDL specific damage quantification pipeline, and the application to investigating the (im)possibility of tyrosine damage events. Charlie also attended the Young Students Gordon Research Symposium (GRS) taking place directly preceding the main conference.

RD9 - March 2016

Elspeth, Jonny, and Charlie attended the 9th International Workshop on X-ray Radiation Damage to Biological Crystalline Samples (RD9) from 9th-11th March 2016, in Lund, Sweden, which Elspeth organised. Elspeth delivered a lecture on the accuracy of dose calculations, and Jonny presented his new research on state-space models for global radiation damage correction. Charlie also gave a short 'taster' talk to advertise his poster on his RIDL specific damage quantification pipeline. The workshop also featured a tour of the newly built MAX-IV synchrotron.

ECM29 - August 2015

Elspeth, Jonny, Charlie and Shu attended the 29th annual European Crystallographic Meeting (ECM29) held in Rovinj, Croatia, from the 23-28th August. Jonny, Charlie and Shu all presented posters at the session, and Elspeth chaired a plenary lecture delivered by Henry Chapman. Jonny and Charlie also attended the Crystallographic Computing Satellite Meeting taking place in Rovinj in the few days directly preceding the main conference, in which Jonny held a series of tutorial sessions on the Julia programming language.

Rapidata - May 2015

From 3rd - 8th May the Rapidata Data Collection and Structure Solving: A Practical Course in Macromolecular X-ray Diffraction Measurement took place at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL) for the first time. Elspeth gave crystallisation tutorials and lectures at the workshop. During her stay in Stanford she even unexpectedly bumped into a long time friend and collaborator, Martin Weik

Jonny using equipment to measure the approximate size of the protein crystals before harvesting them.

Fishing for crystals - Mar 2015

As part of an ongoing collaboration with the beamline staff at Diamond Light Source I02 to incorporate RADDOSE-3D (the group's dose calculation software) onto the beamline, the group sometimes bring crystals to the beamline to analyse the dose state of the crystal during and after the experiment. After growing some crystals Jonny and Elspeth went to the crystallisation room to fish for some crystals to bring with them on their next trip to Diamond.

Jonny using equipment to measure the approximate size of the protein crystals before harvesting them.

Puerto Rico - Jan 2015

Elspeth travelled to Puerto Rico to attend the BioXFEL STC 2nd Annual International Conference from the 14th - 16th January where she delivered a presentation for students and postdocs about opportunities in research. During her stay, Elspeth also managed to visit two crystallography PhD students at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez.

Why Science? Why Maths? - Jan 2015

Jonny took part in the Why Science? Why Maths? event at Cheney School on Tuesday 13th January. This event was aimed at students considering A-Level and post school options in science and maths. There were many hands-on scientific activities available for the students to try, along with a series of talks by various scientists and mathematicians. Jonny joined members of the British Crystallographic Association with their activities and he also delivered a talk of his own about how maths is used to "see" proteins with X-ray crystallography.

CCP4 Study Weekend - Jan 2015

This years annual CCP4 study weekend was held on January 7rd - January 9th 2015 at the University of Nottingham. The focus of the conference was on advances in experimental phasing, which saw many fantastic speakers including Garman group alumnus Robin Owen. In addition the talks during the main conference there were opportunities to talk to the many developers of the various crystallographic software for demos and updates in CCP4. The conference dinner was amazing and the post dinner entertainment - a ceilidh of course -  had us dancing until the early hours of the morning.

Garman group members from left to right: Jonny, Thomas, Elspeth and Charlie. Oliver Zeldin is on the far right and is a Garman group alumnus.

 

The CCP4 meeting is a great chance to network and meet other crystallographers.

Hard at Work on the Beamline - Dec 2014

On 16th December the group went to Diamond Light Source to contine an ongoing collaboration between the Garman group and the beamline scientists at Diamond Light Source beamline I02. The project aims to integrate the group software, RADDOSE-3D, into the beamline software so users can use the software to help them design better strategies to minimise the dose accumulated during the crystallography experiment.

Seated from front to back: Tom Dixon, Jonny Brooks, Charlie Bury, Carina Lobley, Thomas Sorensen. Standing: Markus Gerstel

Meeting with the King of Jordan - Nov 2014

Garman group alumnus, Areej Abuhammad, has been hard at work establishing a crystallography lab at the University of Jordan where she currently holds the position of Assistant Professor. The King of Jordan paid a visit to the University where Areej has been working. She met the King and was able to show him the supercomputer facility where she had set up a station to refine crystal structures.

Areej on the far left showing an electron density map (on screen) to the King of Jordan

Illuminating Atoms: Royal Albert Hall Exhibition - Nov 2014

To celebrate the International Year of Crystallography the Illuminating Atoms exhibition was held at the Royal Albert Hall on the 9th November. The exhibition showcases photographs by Max Alexander portraying people and the work within the field of crystallography. To accompany the exhibition Elspeth also presented a talk about how crystallography changed the world along with a special Q&A. The BBC have also posted an article about the exhibition which include quotes from Elspeth about the event.

There is still a chance to see the exhibition at the Royal Albert Hall as there are free open days on Saturday 15th November, Sunday 16th November and Saturday 29th November.

Synchrotron Radiation User Meeting - Sept 2014

The Synchrotron Radiation Users Meeting (SRUM) was held at Diamond Light Source on the 3rd and 4th September. The meeting is a chance for various users of the Diamond synchrotron to share their research and also to discuss issues regarding the synchrotron facility. Elspeth and Jonny were co-authors on a poster along with Garman group alumnus Robin Owen and collaborator (and first author) Ian Carmichael which won a prize at the meeting.

From left to right: Ian Carmichael, Robin Owen, Jonny Brooks and Elspeth Garman

BCA/CCP4 Summer School - Aug 2014

From August 26th - August 31 the BCA/CCP4 Summer School was held at Diamond Light Source. It is intended for students and researchers that are new to crystallography with it's primary aims to provide comprehensive training in crystallography and to promote best practise within the British crystallographic community. Jonny attended the summer school as a student and Elspeth was involved in teaching on teh course. As well as formal training, the summer school also hosted social events where the attendees could network. The post dinner conference speech was given by Stephen Curry.

The students on the last evening after the formal dinner

All attendees and lecturers on the boat trip along the River Thames in Oxford

Diamond Light Source open day - Aug 2014

On August 20th Diamond Light Source held an open day for members of the general public to view the facility while the beam is down. During this time it is possible to see the rings where the electrons are accelerated to produce the X-rays used for the crystallography experiments. During the open day Jonny helped out at the British Crystallographic Association (BCA) stand where visitors were able to grow lysozyme crystals and make crystal structures out of toothpicks and sweets. The next Diamond open day is in October 2014 so for more details see the Diamond website here.

Some of the group that helped out at the BCA stand at Diamond.

The diamond structure made by one of the BCA stand helpers on the day. Not all of the jelly babies lasted long enough to make a stucture.

Work Experience - Aug 2014

For the week beginning 4th August the Garman group was joined by a fantastic A-level student, Ben. During this week he not only learned about the protein structure determination process but also helped with some cutting edge research experiments that took place at Diamond Light Source.

Jonny, Ben and Charlie at Diamond Light Source beamline I04-1.

Gordon Research Conference - July/Aug 2014

The Gordon Research Conference (GRC) and the Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) on Diffraction Methods in Structural Biology were held from July 26th through to August 1st at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, United States. Elspeth, Jonny and Helen attended and each presented a poster at the meetings. Helen was also selected to deliver an oral presentation from here poster. 

Elspeth, Jonny and Helen having fun with the car that was rented for the trip.

Group photos with all of the attendees at the conference.

Helen, Arwen Pearson and Elspeth on the ferry to Cushings Island where the group stayed with some of Elspeth's friends prior to the GRS and GRC meetings.

Charlie and the chocolate factory - July 2014

To celebrate Charlie's last journal club before leaving the Garman group for his second Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) short project journal club was held outdoors and the group celebrated with chocolate cake.

Charlie with the chocolate cake after the first incision.

The group outdoors while Charlie cuts slices of cake. At some point the group did actually go over the paper for journal club.

id2 Conference - June 2014

The annual Interdisciplinary Inter-DTC (id2) conference took place at the University of Oxford on the 26th and 27th June. Jonny was one of the organisers of this student conference which aims to bring students together from all over the UK and abroad to network and showcase their interdisciplinary research within the life sciences field. Over the two days the delegates presented posters and talks and also heard talks from keynote speakers, Dr Lisa Melton of Nature Biotech, Sir Professor Mike Brady and Professor Denis Noble. Elspeth was also involved at the conference as a poster judge.  

The id2 conference organising committee together after the conference.

Elspeth and Charlotte Deane judging during the poster session.

A Massive " Thank You" - June 2014

Elspeth received a BIG "thank you" from a group of young students (the oldest of them being 21) whom she helped by co-editing a scientific paper for them. For many of the students it is their first publication. To express their gratitude, they sent this fantastic picture. We wish them all the best. 

Cheltenham Science Festival - June 2014

Jonny joined the British Crystallographic Association Education and Outreach (BCA Education) group on 8th June to do more public engagement of crystallogrpahy at the Cheltenham Science Festival. At the stand members of the public could interactively learn about the process of crystallography with several hands on activities including a growing crystals of lysozyme, pouring marbles to make crystal lattices and operating a model lego beamline. Follow BCA Education on Twitter to learn more about what they do. 

The BCA Education stand at the festival.... before the arrival of the public

Showing off the model lego beam line to members of the public

ISSC14, Crystallographic summer school, Hamburg - May 2014

From May 11-17 Katharina visited her home country, Germany. She attended the International Summer School of Crystallography at DESY/CFEL in Hamburg, organised by Cornelius Gati of Henry Chapman’s laboratory.

She was accompanied by her fellowship friend Ana Rita and also met Markus (also from her fellowship) at the course. Around 30 international students were lucky to get accepted and be welcomed to intensive lectures about the mathematical background of crystallography, held by Carmelo Giacovazzo.  Beside that, a barbecue and a harbor trip were organised to get to know the city and the other students of the course. Overall, a full success!

Ana Rita and Katharina enjoying the weather and harbour birthday in Hamburg.

A Pint of Science - May 2014

May 21st marked the final evening of the international science festival Pint of Science, which aims to deliver complex, cutting-edge science in a informal environment - in the pub. Elspeth Garman was invited to give a talk in the St. Aldates pub titled A new bird flu (H7N9). Should we be afraid? There was even a flu related pub quiz  which was won by a group consisting of Beth Phipps and Garman group students Helen and Jonny.

Elspeth during her talk.

Elspeth with Oxford Pint of Science organiser, Stanley Strawbridge, drawing a ticket for the raffle - which turned out to be Jonny's number!

Elspeth with Garman group members Helen (left) and Jonny (right) along with Beth Phipps.

A Royal Address - Apr 2014

On 28th April Elspeth gave an invited talk at the Royal Society Discussion meeting on ‘Cell Adhesion century: culture breakthrough’ on: Anti-viral adhesion molecular mechanisms for influenza.

Abstract:

Infection by the influenza virus depends firstly on cell adhesion via the sialic acid binding viral surface protein, haemagglutinin, and secondly on the successful escape of progeny viruses from the host cell to enable the disease to spread to other cells. To achieve the latter, influenza utilises another glycoprotein, the enzyme neuraminidase (NA), to cleave the sialic acid receptors from the surface of the original host cell. This talk will trace the development of anti-influenza drugs, from the initial suggestion by MacFarlane Burnet in 1948 that an effective “competitive poison” of the virus’ NA might be useful in controlling infection by the virus, through to the determination of the structure of NA by X-ray crystallography and the realisation of Burnet’s idea with the design of NA inhibitors. A focus will be the contribution of the late William Graeme Laver to this research.

 

Cryocool and the gang - Apr 2014

The Garman group is growing and with new members comes the transfer of knowledge. Markus and Jonny went digged down to the depths of their knowledge to show the new members of the Garman group, Helen Ginn and Charlie Bury, how to fish and cryo cool their crystals. 

 

The damage has been done... Crystallographically of course - Apr 2014

Markus, Jonny and Elspeth all attended the 8th International Workshop on X-ray Radiation Damage to Biological Crystalline Samples (RD8) meeting at EMBL Hamburg 10th - 12th April. This was a meeting co-organised by Elspeth and covered many different aspects of radiation damage research. There were tours of the PETRA III synchrotron and the building site for the new European X-ray Free Electron laser. Markus was even invited by the organisers to give a talk.

As usual the group still manage to find the time to have some fun!

After dinner at the conference Elspeth is joined by current members of the Garman group along with Garman group Alumni. From left to right - Markus Gerstel, Oli Zeldin, Elspeth Garman, Robin Owen and Jonny Brooks.

More after dinner fun. From left to right - Jonny Brooks, Professor Ian Carmichael and Robin Owen.

Elspeth inside the tunnel during the tour of the new European X-ray free electron laser. 

At the BBQ dinner. From left to right - Jonny Brooks, Markus Gerstel and Gerard Bricogne

Enjoying Ice cream at a cafe after the conference with some honourary Garman Gang friends. From left to right - Matthew Rodrigues, Professor Arwen Pearson, Garman group alumnus Oli Zeldin and Briony Yorke.

 

Meals at the speakers' dinner on the final evening of the conference. Just beautiful!

Street performers in Hamburg city centre.

Learning the ways of Crystallography - Mar 2014

During the first year of the Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) at the University of Oxford you get options to take various modules and one of those happens to be Advanced experimental techniques (AET). Markus and Jonny were around to assist on the AET module this year teaching first year DTC students how to set up a crystallisation plate with Lysozyme crystals and how to fish your crystals once they've grown.

Having fun in the crystallisation room. From Left to right: Markus, Jakub Tomek, Martin Ducker, Thomas Newport and Jonny.

Markus in the process of finding a loop in the microscope to show the DTC students how small the loops are. 

Elspeth in SCIENCE!

Elspeth has published a review article in one of the world's top scientific journals: Science. The title of the review is "Developments in X-ray Crystallographic Structure Determination of Biological Macromolecules" and covers the achievements made within the field so far along with future developments that could help us overcome the challenges that crystallography faces today. For links to the article go to our publication page here

Reaching out to the people - Mar 2014

On March the 14th and 15th Katharina, Jonny and Elspeth helped the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford to deliver a series of public engagement events about crystallography to celebrate the international year of crystallography. On the 14th was a sixth form study day where Elspeth gave a lecture and Jonny and Katharina ran practical workshops on using microscopes, growing lysozyme crystals and visualising proteins. On the 15th the museum ran a family day where children and adults of all ages came to learn about crystals and grew lysozyme with us. Both events were fantastic and incredibly rewarding.

Going out with a BANG! - Mar 2014

On March 13th-16th the annual Big Bang fair was held at the NEC in Birmingham and Jonny was there to help out. The Big Bang fair is aimed at young people (aged 7 - 19 primarily) and showcases opportunities and research in a fun and engaging manner. Diamond Light Source had a stand at the fair to demonstrate the various areas and uses of X-ray crystallography. Jonny volunteered to help with the event where he met several other crystallographers. He also enjoyed making crystals of lysozyme with the young people and getting them engaged in science.

Jonny with co-developer of the first Cryostream Cooler Prof Mike Glazer 

With another volunteer Felice Laake

The entire crystallography team on the 13th March at the end of the day. (Very exhausting)

The infamous model lego beamline. It's amazing, it really works!

Beamline Funeral - Feb 2014

Elspeth delievered a talk at the ESRF user meeting on 3rd February to commemorate the ID14-4 beamline which has now been closed down at the ESRF Grenoble. Elspeth's talk, titled "On-line microspectrophotometry and a tophat beam: the magic of ID14-4" was a fitting tribute to one of her favourite beamlines for which many of her scientific experiments took place.

Elspeth delivering the lecture with her title slide.

During the lecture.

It's in the BAG - Feb 2014

On February 25th and 26th Diamond Light Source held a two day BAG training event for crystallographers attended by Jonny. The event was designed to provide macromolecular crystallography (MX) users with sufficient training to be able to operate any of the Diamond MX beamlines efficiently and to get the most benefit from their beamtime. This included a session on software training, where many of the developers were present to provide hands on training with the programs and also visits to many of the MX beamlines with the beamline scientists present to help. Jonny stayed at the Bear hotel on the first evening and ate a delicious meal that included a fantastic slow cooked pork bell and a chocolate and baileys tart (pictured below). It was delicious! Jonny used that time to meet many of the crystallographers on the training event. All in all a brilliant experience.

From left to right: Jonny, Patrick McIntyre, Ian Cadby, Joseph Brock, Daren Fearon and Michael capper

The fantastic Chocolate and Baileys tart with tia maria clotted cream

A Bavarian Adventure - Feb 2014

Katharina travelled to Bavaria to attend the first Ringberg workshop on structural biology with free electron lasers at the Max Planck Society castle accompanied by her other supervisor Simon Newstead. Not only was the location overwhelming but the presentations about the applications of X-ray free electron lasers, its future and current developments were brilliant. The conference gave visitors both time to talk to the leading scientists in the field and generate new ideas for their future work.  Katharina met two of the fellows from Nanomem program again and also some of the scientists that she met on her cross Atlantic journey. A full success!

Enjoying the castle. From left to right: Markus Metz, Katharina and Akram Mohd.

What a view! 

The Cross Atlantic Journey - Part 1: Nozzle Workshop at ASU - Feb 2014

Katharina was invited to attend a workshop in John Spence's lab at Arizona State University(ASU) focussing on prodcuing nozzles for the liquid jet, used for X-ray free electron laser (XFEL) experiments. From 27. Jan-31. Jan she learned, together with other participants from PSI and GU, how difficult the process of making these hand-made pieces can be. In the end she was able to produce two functioning nozzles. Nevertheless, she also enjoyed the sunny weather with fellow attendees and the lovely atmosphere in the lab with Stella Lisova giving the workshop.

From left to right: Rajiv Harimoorthy, Katharina Jungnickel, John Spence, Stella Lisova and Przemyslaw Nogly.

Katharina tries to put on a spacer for the sample capillaries for the nozzle.

The Cross Atlantic Journey - Part 2: XFEL Fun - Feb 2014

After a wonderful week in Arizona, Katharina flew over to Stanford to meet Vadim Cherezov who showed her how they collect XFEL data at the CXI beamline. Not only did she gain knowledge about sample handling but she also got the chance to speak to Uwe Weierstall about the injector system and Petra Fromme about experimenting at XFEL. During her time there she visited Stanford University where she met Garman group alumnus, Oliver Zeldin, and she also got to visit San Francisco.

Inside of the hutch of CXI

Katharina at the Golden Gate Bridge

Taking Care of Business in Hamburg - Data Collection - Jan 2014

Elspeth and Jonny travelled to Hamburg for 6 days between Wednesday 15th January and Monday 20th January to collect diffraction data from various crystals of various proteins. This involved many late nights at the PETRA III synchrotron (the last night ended at 5:30am) but also incredible food. The data collection was made so much easier with invaluable support from Thomas Schneider and Gleb Bourenkov who assisted with the data collection and helped us find our way around the city - we even were invited to Thomas' home to have dinner with his family. Elspeth and Jonny also had their fair share of fun whilst there. The facility is so large that many people get around on scooters inside the building and we weren't afraid to try.

From left to right - Jonny, Gleb Bourenkov, Elspeth and Thomas Schneider

Evening with the Schneider family

Elspeth taking some time out of data collection

CUI Colloquium Talk at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory - Jan 2014

On Thursday 16th January Elspeth delivered a talk titled “Cross disciplinary methods development for advancing structural biology” at EMBL Hamburg. In this talk Elspeth gave a brief introduction to crystallography and covered aspects of her work that included the development of RADDOSE-3D and micro-PIXE.

CCP4 Study Weekend - Jan 2014

This years annual CCP4 study weekend was held on January 3rd - January 5th 2014 at the University of Nottingham. The focus of the conference was on complimentary methods to X-ray crystallography which saw many fantastic speakers including Garman group alumni Robin Owen. In addition the talks during the main conference there were opportunities to talk to the many developers of the various crystallographic software for demos and updates in CCP4. The conference dinner was amazing and the post dinner entertainment had us dancing until the early hours of the morning.

 

 

Doctoral Training Centre Christmas Dinner

Towards the end of the Christmas term, the Doctoral Training Centre at Oxford held it's annual DTC christmas dinner attended by over 100 students across the various DTC programmes. Garman Group members Markus and Jonny attended as well as Elspeth. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Until next year......

Lectures in Lapland - Dec 2013

In December 2013 Elspeth travelled to Saariselkä in Northern Lapland to give a lecture entitled: Triumph over adversity: the structure determination of TBNAT to around 80 graduate students attending the annual Winter School of the National Doctoral Programme in Information and Structural Biology. She arrived in Ivalo, 600km north of Helsinki and way north the Arctic Circle to temperatures of MINUS 30 C but to a very warm welcome. The dusk/sunrise combination at 1:00pm was spectacular, and the sun never rose above the horizon.
            Here is Elspeth leaving Ivalo.                           and her meal of reindeer steaks.
  
 

British Crystallographic Association Winter Meeting - Dec 2013

On Monday 16th December 2013 Jonny and Katharina travelled to King's College London for the British Crystallographic Association's (BCA) winter meeting for the Biological Structures Group (BSG). Here they learned about several advancements in the field including updates on the status of the UK involvement in the European X-ray free electron laser (XFEL) project. On the trip they also managed to fit in some time to explore London.

 

Training in Gothenburg - Dec 2013

In December 2013 Katharina flew to Gothenburg for a week of crystallography training. The first three days she visited Astra Zaneca and was introduced to the entire process of compound discovery from screening a large number of compounds for a specific target to introducing the optimised compound to clinical trials. Thursday and Friday she had soft skills training at the university of gothenburg. The session was divided into several sections covering career development planning, gender issues and steps towards delivering good presentations.

  

Diamond Light Source Trip - Dec 2013

On Thursday 12th December Jonny and Oliver visited the Diamond Light Source (DLS) synchrotron to observe experiments that were taking place at the time. During the visit we both learnt a lot and we managed to get into the experiment hutch where these pictures were taken:

 

 

Lipidic Cubic Phase Plate Practice - Dec 2013

On Tuesday 10th December Katharina demonstrated the difficulties trying to cut open Lipidic Cubic Phase (LCP) plates. It requires a lot of care and accuracy and it was incredibly difficult. Below you can see Oliver having a go:

 





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