Netherlands, Utrecht (NL)

Exploring Nature's Molecular Machines

when 6 July 2015 - 17 July 2015
duration 2 weeks
credits 3 ECTS
fee EUR 590

You will experience the stimulating, international environment in our research laboratories and grasp first hand the meaning of interdisciplinary science. We will focus on the chemical principles underlying protein structure and function. We will examine how proteins fold into complex “molecular machines”, and how malfunction of individual proteins leads to failure and disease. We will combine lectures with experiments in research laboratories. You will be introduced to advanced methods in structural biology, molecular cell biology and biophysics to study protein machines at atomic resolution. The interdisciplinary range of methods includes NMR, mass spectrometry and proteomics, crystallography, fluorescence spectroscopy and microscopy.

Why do we live and why do we die? Protein machines in the cell take the decisions at molecular level that determine our fate. The last two decades have seen a revolution in our understanding of these machines due to the success of structural biology. We now know the structures of the key players in the most fundamental processes of life. Now we can disentangle the function of the molecular machines and understand the networks in which they function. Essential for progress in this area is that we have eyes at our disposal that allow us to see the molecules in front of us, and to monitor how they react on our manipulations.

The Bijvoet Center in Utrecht provides a privileged environment for research and education in this area. The Bijvoet School consists of a select, international group of around 50 graduate students, more than 80% from outside the Netherlands. Our students have access to a 900 MHz NMR spectrometer, the mass spectrometers of the Netherlands Proteomics Center a semi-automated protein crystallization facility, cell culture facilities and advanced microscopy. We organize this summer school to expose the next generation of ambitious and talented from all over the world to learn how to study the principles that drive life at the molecular level.

This course focuses on the chemical principles underlying protein structure and function. It elucidates how proteins form assemblies of “molecular machines” that work together to sustain the living state. We will explore how proteins “know” what shape they should fold up into following their synthesis, how they cluster into dynamic macromolecular complexes, and how these complexes communicate to form “social” networks that enable cells to move, replicate, signal, and execute other vital processes.

The students will be introduced to advanced methods in structural and molecular biology and biophysics for decoding the cellular protein machinery at atomic resolution, and examine how malfunction of specific components can lead to systemic failure and disease.

The school will combine theory with experiments in the Bijvoet research laboratories. We keep the group size small so that you will be able to build up contacts to the group leaders and PhD students of the Bijvoet School. We also schedule a visit to a partner biotech company.

Applications should include:

- Motivation for your application; make clear why you are interested in the subject of the summer school; not longer than two pages (submit through your account)
- Curriculum vitae (submit through your account)
- Recent set of transcripts (marks/grades) in English, German, French or in Dutch for Dutch students (submit through your account)
- Two letters of recommendation (to be sent directly to the contact person below)

Course leader

Dr. Stefan Rüdiger

Target group

Advanced bachelor students and early stage master students with a background in chemistry, biophysics or molecular biology as well as a proficiency in English.

Course aim

To introduce the student
- to an international and interdisciplinary research environment
- to the molecular principles of structure and function of molecular machines
- to advanced technology for decoding nature’s molecular machines
- to ideas for modern drug development
- to applications in nano- and synthetic biology.

Credits info

Certificate of attendance

Fee info

EUR 590: Course + course materials + housing

Total fee for the course is € 500. Half of this amount will be sponsored by the Bijvoet Center so participants only have to pay €250. The costs for housing are € 340. Lunches are always included. In addition, we have a scholarship programme to support this Summerschool.

Will you attend a course on Healthcare or Life Science? As a student of Utrecht Summer School, you'll receive a 30% discount on all courses of Elevate Health, the online academy founded by Utrecht University and University Medical Center Utrecht. Elevate offers a broad curriculum of interactive online courses in the field of medical and veterinary sciences. After confirmation and payment of your Summer School course, you'll automatically receive your personal discount code to enroll in your Elevate course.
EUR 250: Course + course materials


We strongly encourage participants to apply for one of our scholarships.

Register for this course
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