Introduction to the network

Welcome to the EU network Rationalising Membrane Protein crystallisation “RAMP”. This is an Innovative Training Network (ITN) funded by the EU under the programme Marie Skłodowska Curie Action, grant 722687.

Crystallising membrane proteins is very hard – proteins are big complex flexible molecules, and to make life even harder membrane proteins live in a soft back-to-back double layer of soap-like molecules. But we need crystals of membrane proteins to use X-ray diffraction to determine the protein’s detailed structure, and we need this structure to design drugs to target membrane proteins.

Crystals of a membrane protein grown by Heidi Burke now of Sanofi Genzyme, but then Tufts Sackler School of Biomedical Sciences

So crystallising membrane proteins is both a very difficult problem and an important problem. If we knew the structure of more membrane proteins we would know about how our bodies work at a molecular level, and be better able to develop life saving drugs.

The network aims to develop new approaches to crystallising membrane proteins, approaches that rely on less trial and error than current approaches. It will also crystallise membrane proteins that have never been crystallised before, and train 12 PhD students to do all this. The 12 students will learn the research and team working skills, and the commercial awareness, needed for a successful research career.

The EU in the 21st century needs the scientists we will train, and the new techniques we will develop. They will both benefit society with more effective, safer, drugs, and make the EU’s high tech economy more competitive.

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June 2021, Sofia Jaho (ESR 2) & Elham Vahdatahar (ESR 1), will defend their thesis on the 8th and the 28th respectively at @IBS_Grenoble

June 2021, Swati (ESR 11) gave a talk at the ESS Science Day. Her subject presentation wass “Towards neutron crystallography of membrane proteins”

May 2021, Cristina (ESR 7) has been offered a job position at the European Institute of Oncology -IEO: a Research Hospital in Milan, Italy, dedicated to the treatment of cancer, integrating different areas for the fight against cancer. She will join the institute this summer in Dr Mapelli’s group.