NKEB13008U Crystallography - BSc
BSc Programme in Chemistry
BSc Programme in Biochemistry
Crystallography is the main technique by which the three-dimensional structures of molecules are determined. One advantage of crystallography is that similar methods can be used to determine the structure of molecules ranging in size from just a few atoms to the size of ribosomal particle (in the MDa range). The aim of this course is to provide the student with fundamental knowledge about the crystallographic methods used to determine the structure of crystalline materials, especially single crystals of bio-macromolecules (primarily proteins) and small molecules, covering the main aspects of chemical and macromolecular crystallography from crystallization to structure validation, structural databases and use of large-scale X-ray and neutron facilities. The theoretical knowledge will be reinforced by exercises, including numerical exercises.
Much of the theory is common to macromolecular and chemical crystallography, and for the more specific lectures, equal weight is given to protein crystallography and crystallography of smaller molecules.The students will also gain experience in some practical aspects of crystallization and crystallographic structure determination, through laboratory and computer-based practical classes. The practical classes cover 1) crystallization of a protein; 2) crystallization, data processing through to structure determination, refinement and analysis of an organic salt; 3) molecular replacement phasing and initial refinement of a protein from given data. A lot of weight is also given to training in critical reading, presentation and discussion of original articles where crystallographic methods are used in a variety of contexts.
If your study plan allows it, you are welcome to take this course as a MSc student. This is particularly advisable if you want a general introduction to crystallography, rather than intending to apply what you learn immediately to a project.
The students must be able to
- Analyze and present selected type of data from crystallization and crystallographic experiments
- Evaluate and discuss crystallization and crystallographic data and the derived structural information based on primary literature and/or database information
The student must be able to:
- carry out, under guidance, crystallographic experiments and data analysis, such as crystallization, data processing and simple structure determinations, evaluate their results and describe them in writing
- determine crystallographic space groups from diffraction data
- read, critically evaluate and explain original articles in English, where crystallography is used as a main method
- make use of selected crystal structure databases for structural comparison and to evaluate structure quality
- solve simple quantitative problems in crystallography, e.g. related to diffraction theory
The students must demonstrate knowledge of:
- Crystallization and diffraction theory
- Crystal symmetry
- Crystallographic structure determination methods
- Structure validation
In 2018 we have used the following textbooks – however we might change one or both so please check with the responsible teacher or on Absalon before buying: W. Massa, Crystal structure determination 2nd edition 2004 (chemical crystallography), Springer-Verlag ISBN: 3-540-20644-2; D. Blow, Outline of Crystallography for Biologists, 2002, Oxford University Press, ISBN: 0-19-851051-9. Additional notes, reviews and articles will be available on Absalon.
The course cannot be taken if the Crystallography MSc course has already been taken.
The course gives the necessary background to take on a Project outside course scope, BSc or MSc project in crystallography.
- Practical exercises
- Theory exercises
- 7,5 ECTS
- Type of assessment
- Oral examination, 20-30 minStudents are allowed to look briefly (2 mins) at short lists of key points they may have prepared at home before they start their answering (see section on aids). No other preparation time is allowed.
- Exam registration requirements
The students must have actively participated in the practical classes (80% compulsory attendance) and written short group reports satisfactorily describing the results from their experiments. Additionally the students must have satisfactorily presented 1-2 original articles (individually or in small groups) and satisfactorily completed all compulsory electronic quizzes during the course.
- Only certain aids allowed
The students are allowed to look briefly at short lists of key points they may have prepared at home, once they find out which main topics are to be covered in their oral examination (lottery drawn). They are also allowed to look up information in appropriate tables in the textbooks or International tables provided at the oral exam. No other aids are allowed.
- Marking scale
- 7-point grading scale
- Censorship form
- No external censorship
several internal examiners
Re-examination takes the same form of the ordinary exam.
All electronic quizzes must have been satisfactorily completed. If the student has not participated in compulsory article presentation, a powerpoint must be handed in. If the student has not participated in 80% of practical classes, completion of 80% of the practical work will have to be carried out as self-study. Only minimal supervision can be expected and only when justified by safety considerations. All exam requirements must be satisfied latest three weeks before the re-examination, and the student must contact the responsible teacher at least four weeks before the re-examination, to agree on the necessary practical details.
Criteria for exam assesment
See 'learning outcome'