Crystallization of biological macromolecules (KJE-8703)

Place: NorStruct, Forskningsparken 3, University of Tromsø
Time: 5-9 September 2016
ECTS: 3 ECTS (PhD level course)
Teaching: Lectures and practical laboratory exercises
Exam: Written laboratory report (pass/fail)
Participants: Both internal and external students are welcome as well as researchers from industry and academia! Maximum number of participants: 12.
Course responsible: Eva Pebay-Peyroula (, Department of Chemistry, UiT
Contact for registration and accommodation: Maarten Beerepoot ( / 776 23103), Department of Chemistry, UiT
External students register through SøknadsWeb (application code 9303, deadline June 1)
Students from UiT register through StudentWeb (KJE-8703, deadline September 1)


Schedule 2016
How to register
Course description from UiT course catalogue
Course flyer in PDF
Travel claim

Course description

Crystallography is still the method of choice for obtaining structural information at atomic resolution of biological macromolecules. However obtaining crystals of the macromolecules is still one of the major bottlenecks in the structure determination process. This course is aimed at students with little or no prior experience in crystallization of biological macromolecules. Lectures will include theoretical aspects of crystallization as well as practical methods, but the course is practical oriented with “hands-on” work at the lab.

The course will cover basic theory for crystal formation and growth, and methods for setting up crystallization trials. How to do preliminary studies in order to increase the probability of crystal growth, how to evaluate and optimize results, and how to handle crystals for further treatment (storing, mounting, cryo-protection, etc.) will also be part of the course. In addition, students will be introduced to how crystal structures are solved and to the state of the art “high through-put” crystallomics and the international status for this field of science.

The practical part of the course will give an introduction to basic techniques like vapour diffusion with hanging/sitting drops, screening for the optimal conditions, use of “seeding” techniques, use of kits, as well as the use of robotic equipment for crystallization experiments. Students are welcome to bring their own samples for the practicals (contact the course responsible in good time before the course).

This course is perfectly suited for biologists who are not necessarily familiar with structural biology and the methods used to solve structures, but who are interested structural information. Indeed, structures of proteins or other biological macromolecules at atomic resolution provide very powerful information that combined with cellular biology and biochemistry shed light onto biological mechanisms with amazing detail. Interdisciplinary collaborations between cell biologists, microbiologists or enzymologists with structural biologists are often very fruitful. Crystallization is at the interface between biochemistry and crystallography, and is therefore the step where the expertise of collaborating partners meets. In such a context, it can be very valuable for PhD students to get into the crystallization technique. This course is made such that it is well-suited also for non-structural biologists.

General info

BioStruct covers the costs for travel and accommodation for BioStruct students participating in national courses at Norwegian universities other than the student’s home institution. For more information contact Maarten Beerepoot. If the number of applicants exceeds the capacity of the course, 75% of the course admissions will be reserved for students attending the PhD school, BioStruct. The course may be cancelled if the number of registered participants is too low. Registered students will be contacted shortly after the registration deadline.

External PhD students (pursuing the 3 ECTS) must, in addition to registering for the course, also fill in the application (see link above) form to be registered as guest students at UiT. A letter confirming that you are enrolled to a PhD program at your home institution must be added. The application form and confirmation letter are to be sent together to Maarten Beerepoot ( This is required for several administrative purposes, including access to the electronic Fronter room that will be used during the course.

Accommodations will be arranged for external PhD students; travel must be arranged by the participants themselves.