IUCr Newsletter - Volume 24, Number 4 - 3
IUCr Crystallites blog
IUCr webinar series
agbenyega, iUcr bUsiness
DeveLopMent Manager (Ja@iUcr.org)
February 2017 saw the
launch of the new IUCr
blog, IUCr Crystallites
(http://blogs.iucr.org/crystallites). The blog features news
and opinion in crystallography and related disciplines.
It is our opportunity to bring you, in an easily
digestible format, a snapshot of the rich variety
of research, experts and resources available to
researchers in the field, and let you know how
work in this area is enabling others and having
an effect on society.
Even though the IUCr is a relatively small
Union, we support many good causes. In 2016
alone we provided travel bursaries to allow students and young scientists to attend 40 conferences and workshops spread over 25 countries.
We also provided grants to more than 20 professors to travel to developing regions so they
could help students, research groups and institutions develop capacity in crystallography.
Because of this fantastic commitment to our
community and your tireless support of our
work, we are now witnessing an unprecedented
number of new countries seeking membership
of the Union during the 2017 IUCr Congress
and General Assembly. You'll see news about
our outreach and capacity-building activities in
the blog, so please bookmark http://blogs.iucr.
org/crystallites and share any comments you
may have about our work on the site.
Our blog will feature selected IUCr journal papers shortened into easy-to-read summaries for you to catch up on before reading
the underlying article more leisurely. These
summaries will also appear on other news and
information sites across the web such as EurekAlert! run by AAAS, so do look out for us
during your browsing.
I hope you have heard about our new
IUCr Associates Programme (www.iucr.org/
people/associates). This is a new venture for us,
which will bring you closer to our journals and
charitable work; we know you will enjoy being part of this exciting initiative. Associates'
thoughts and views will be shared through
IUCr Crystallites, improving our reach and
relevance in the wider community. To register your interest and to ensure you are in line
for a 20% discount on registration, please fill
in your details at http://www.iucr.org/people/
associates/congress-special-offer. We look forward to welcoming you.
We hope you enjoy IUCr Crystallites and
await your comments.♦
agbenyega, iUcr bUsiness DeveLopMent Manager (Ja@iUcr.org)
You may remember reading in a previous column of mine about the launch of
a series of educational webinars to help support authors' articles published in our
journals. We now have three webinars currently nearing completion. These webinars
will air over the coming months and will allow attendees the opportunity to learn
or brush-up skills in particular areas of crystallography. Each event will last between
35 and 45 minutes with some time at the end for questions and answers. Attendees tuning in live will have the opportunity to ask questions of the speaker by typing
their comments into the webinar interface and the speaker will then answer live for
the entire audience to hear. A listen-on-demand recording of the event will also be
made available for those not able to attend the live event.
In no particular order the three events to launch this series will be as follows:
~Naomi Chayen of Imperial College, London, UK, talks about smart materials
for protein crystallisation [Khurshid et al. (2015). Acta Cryst. D71, 534-540; http://
doi.org/f65mds]. The webinar will present practical solutions to some of the problems faced during protein crystallisation with examples of successful results, showing
the ideas and inspiration behind them. The webinar will end with a fascinating look
into how this particular innovative solution was transitioned from the lab into commercial products that are now being sold to users and commercial entities.
~Paul Fewster, former Head of Research at PANalytical, presents a new theory
for X-ray diffraction [Fewster (2014). Acta Cryst. A70, 257-282; http://doi.org/
f572m6 and Fewster (2016). Acta Cryst. A72, 50-54; http://doi.org/b45v]. Paul asks
the questions, "Are we accepting all the interpretations that arise from our present
description of X-ray diffraction? Is it reasonable that all crystals have to be "ideally
imperfect" to determine their structure? Bragg's law cannot avoid dynamical effects,
and therefore the measured intensity is not equal to the square of the structure factor
unless the crystal is assumed to be "ideally imperfect". If polycrystalline diffraction is
formed from crystals satisfying Bragg's law, why is the background so high compared
with single-crystal profiles? Are more crystals required in polycrystalline diffraction
to study complex structures with large unit cells to ensure all the peaks are captured?
If the variation of intensity around the diffraction rings from polycrystalline samples
is associated with a large range of crystal sizes, why does the data from a standard
reference material of similar size crystals still reveal this variation? Are we not just
modifying our sample description and instrument performance so that the current
theory fits the data?" By attending this webinar you will hear directly from Paul on
how he explains his new theory.
~Fabrice Gorrec, MRC, Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK,
considers the advances in macromolecular X-ray crystallography and the complexity of this ever-evolving field in a presentation titled "Formulation of the MORPHEUS protein crystallisation screens" [Gorrec (2015). Acta Cryst. F71, 831-837;
http://doi.org/b45w]. Over the last four decades, different strategies to formulate
crystallisation screens have been established. In addition to altering the main parameters of crystallisation, other aspects have been considered, notably the need to
produce/refine conditions, the cryoprotection of crystals and the phasing of crystallographic data. For this, many reagents have been investigated and integrated
into crystallisation conditions. Experienced researchers from related fields, students and non-experts alike will find Fabrice's presentation essential as it provides
both theoretical and experimental evidence-based aspects of macromolecular X-ray
In each of these events we hope that attendees leave with some useful hints and
tips ready to apply to their day-to-day research. The opportunity to interact with our
authors could help in connecting with other experts in the field, ready and able to
help you in your daily work.
In addition to this fascinating programme, we are working on another series of
IUCr educational webinars that will cover - in a more pedagogic style - different
aspects of symmetry, diffraction techniques, structural science and crystallography.
More on this project in a later column.♦
IUCr Newsletter ♦ Volume 24, Number 4 ♦ 2016