In 2017-2021 I was a member of the EU PhD-student training network RAMP: Rationalising Membrane Protein crystallisation. Membrane proteins are proteins that are embedded in the cell’s membranes. Most protein structures are determined from X-ray diffraction studies, which requires crystals of the proteins. Membrane proteins are notoriously hard to crystallise, which means we know little about the structure of them. RAMP aims to understand better how to crystallise membrane proteins.
RAMP: Modelling membrane protein crystallisation
I am one of nine academics at nine EU universities in the RAtionalising Membrane Protein crystallisation (RAMP) network. This is an Innovative Training Network (ITN) funded by the EU under a Marie Skłodowska Curie Action (MSCA). It runs from March 2017 to February 2021, and is coordinated from the University of Grenoble-Alpes (France) by Dr Monika Spano.
Twelve PhD students, including one working with me at Surrey (Virginia Apostolopoulou), started October 2017. The network aims to develop new approaches to crystallising membrane proteins, approaches that rely on less trial and error than current approaches. See the RAMP website for further details.
The beautiful crystal above is of a membrane protein, and was grown in the MemGold II screen by Stefanie Kobus of the Heinrich Heine University in Dusseldorf. Screens are sets of solution conditions (typically ones that have worked for other proteins in the past) that are used to try and grow protein crystals. MemGold II is sold by the RAMP partner Molecular Dimensions.
Link to homepage for my part (on crystallisation and data analysis) of the RAMP course in May 2018 course in Maynooth.