ISB Theme: First Joint Meeting of Existing and Potential Working Groups


In February, the Integrative Structural Biology Theme brought existing and potentially new working groups together for the very first time. The aim was to facilitate scientific exchange, and to promote synergies and networks.

- This is the first time we are in a room together. It was good. There is definitely scope for cross fertilisation and synergies across existing and new working groups, says Esko Oksanen, Scientific Project Leader of the NMX instrument at ESS.

He says that for him, the idea of a working group is that you can bring people from different disciplines and fields together, people who probably would not have met otherwise.

 – The meetings can lead on to research being done, to research proposals and funding.

Esko Oksanen himself is part of a newly established working group, consisting of two sub-themes, Biocompute and Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning (AIML). For Biocompute, he will lead an activity on gap analysis. The aim is to map out existing software methods to find out what models are currently missing in order to advance the field.

 – We have to begin by looking at the gaps. After that we want fill those gaps to for example combine neutron crystallography information with computational tools to see what we can come up with.

Their first step will be to identify applied mathematicians and structural biologists who might be interested in taking part of this type of work.

 – For us it’s important that what we do bring added value. And that its new, we don’t want to repeat what is already out there.

 – Ideally, when we are done, I want to have ideas for a software project that makes sense. That can be funded and lead to actual development work, he concludes.

At the event two additional working groups were presented and discussed:

-          Time Resolved Structural Biology

-          Membrane Proteins  

About the Integrative Structural Biology Theme

It promotes work that enables the scientific community to use and combine a range of structural biology methods. With the new possibilities offered by MAX IV and ESS, and with rapid progress in the fields of macromolecular crystallography, Cryo-EM, small angle scattering and the use of XFELs, the scientists benefiting from these methods do not always know what the different possibilities are and how to best combine data from complementary structural biology techniques



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