What did you learn during the workshop?
Biological membranes mostly consist of lipids and proteins. These lipids and proteins form a complex that is required for protein stability and folding. So, this workshop was all about how we crystallize membrane proteins (MP) in presence of lipids and make the in vitro niche most suitable for the crystallization of a protein. In order to achieve this, we gained the expertise in Hi-LiDe and Lipidic cubic phase (LCP) crystallization methods at Trinity College, Dublin. We also learnt the importance of protein solubility and protein-protein interaction in crystallization and how we can measure it by a technique called dynamic light scattering at University of Maynooth. Apart from wet-lab experiments, we had a basic tutorial on Python software that can be very useful to analyze lots of crystallization data obtained during each set of experiment.
All in all, this was a perfectly organized workshop that started from the very basics of crystallization, like phase diagrams to making us confident enough to imply the knowledge independently in our project.
What method did you prefer learning about? Why?
Gaining knowledge is always beneficial. Being in the initial stage of my PhD project, learning various crystallization methods was quite helpful. Now, knowing the insights I can decide what is best for my project. But, it is also true that we cannot imply everything that we learnt and it varies from protein to protein. Thus, I would say learning Hi-LiDe and LCP methods were more advantageous for me as I can use them directly in my work.
What did you enjoy most (apart from the science!)?
Of course, meeting all the people in the network. These workshops are the only platform when we all ESRs are together to have some leisure time and make PhD life memories.
Put yourself in a trainer’s shoes!
-what part of the workshop would you have preferred to teach/to demonstrate? Why?
As per my opinion, I would prefer choosing a specific topic that will be useful for all the ESR’s in their project. In this case, it was the detailed explanation of phase diagrams that every crystallographer follows no matter what protein they are working upon.
– as a trainer, is there something you would have done differently? If yes, how?
I suppose workshop should be organized considering the background of all ESR’s. Moreover, instead of covering vast areas it will be fruitful to concentrate on few techniques and give time to understand better by having a short after training discussion.
What can you do differently as an ESR to contribute to a successful workshop?
Organizing a workshop is always time and effort consuming. As an ESR, I will gain the most out of it and later imply the knowledge in my own experiments. The best way to appreciate the efforts of organizers is to ask as many questions as we can and have a productive science discussion.