Solution scattering from biological macromolecules – Course and Conference Office

EMBL Course

Solution scattering from biological macromolecules


Course overview

This course consists of two parts: a virtual module and an on-site module.

The series of online lectures will take place from 6 – 10 November 2023. In addition to this, a small number of selected students that have completed the virtual module will be offered to take part in the practical component of this course that will take place in Hamburg from 27 November – 1 December 2023.

We encourage advanced PhD students, postdocs and junior researchers to apply.

The virtual module lectures will cover the basics of SAXS/SANS, instrumentation, data collection, modelling techniques and complementary use with other methods. The students are also encouraged to sign-up for a self-paced practical tutorial that covers basic and advanced SAXS data processing steps (including quizzes to keep track of successful participation).

In the on-site module, there will be 2 tracks offered focusing on different aspects of SAXS data collection. Applicants will be able to select a preferred track during motivation letter submission.

Students that are not taking part in the on-site module will be able to sign-up for small online discussion groups. These discussion groups will be led by one of the course speakers/tutors and you will be given the chance to discuss your own data/SAXS experiments with your peers.


The course is aimed at young biochemists/biophysicists and researchers active in related structural methods with little or no experience in solution scattering.

The virtual module is aimed at early career scientists interested in expanding their knowledge in SAXS.

On-site track 1: X-ray beamline operation is aimed at advanced pre-docs/early-stage postdocs interested in working with synchrotron radiation and technical aspects of scattering experiments. During the practical, you will learn different steps for commissioning and calibrating a beamline, how to streamline workflows, and what to consider for data collection and management.

On-site track 2: sample preparation and optimization for SAXS is aimed at pre-doctoral and postdoctoral fellows with a background and/or an interest in biochemistry. In this track, we will be looking at best practices in sample preparation and data collection as well as various tools for data quality assessment. Students are encouraged to bring their own samples.


  • SAXS data collection
  • Data processing
  • Basic analysis
  • Novel SAXS data analysis methods
  • Integrative structural biology
  • Reporting and quality assessment

Learning outcomes

During the virtual module of the course, we will take a look at all essential steps of SAXS data analysis, from applying for beamtime, collecting, processing, and analysing SAXS data, as well as proper reporting and quality assessment.

At the on-site module, deeper insights into beamline operation or optimization of measurements can be gained.


Speakers and tutors

Stefano DaVela

Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences


Frank Gabel

IBS, Grenoble


Maria Garcia Alai

EMBL Hamburg


Tobias Gräwert



Al Kikhney

Al Kikhney

Xenocs, Grenoble


Zehra Sayers

Sabancı Üniversitesi


Scientific organizers

Virtual programme (6-10 November 2023)

Day 0 – Thursday 2 November 2023
Day 1 – Monday 6 November 2023
Time (Europe/Berlin)Speaker
14:00 – 14:10Welcome
Melissa Gräwert – EMBL Hamburg, Germany
14:10 – 15:10Lecture: SAXS Theory
Richard Gillian – Chess University, Cornell, USA
15:10 – 16:10Lecture: SAXS and SANS
Frank Gabel – IBS, Grenoble, France
16:10 – 16:30Coffee Break
16:30 – 17:30Lecture: SAXS Instrumentation
Clement Blanchet – EMBL Hamburg, Germany
17:30 – 18:15SPECIAL: P12 virtual beamline tour (optional)
OngoingStudent Presentation Wall – show us your SAXS project (mini video or poster)
Day 2 – Tuesday 7 November 2023
Time (Europe/Berlin)Speaker
14:00 – 14:10Welcome
Clement Blanchet – EMBL Hamburg, Germany
14:10 – 15:10Lecture: SAXS samples
Melissa Gräwert – EMBL Hamburg, Germany
15:10 – 16:10Lecture/Practical: SAXS basic analysis
Al Kikhney – Xenocs, Grenoble, France
16:10 – 16:30Break
16:30 – 17:30Tutorial: Introduction to self-paced program
Melissa Gräwert – EMBL Hamburg, Germany
17:30 – 18:15SPECIAL: Meet former students (optional)
OngoingStudent Presentation Wall — show us your SAXS project (mini video or poster)
Day 3 – Wednesday 8 November 2023
Time (Europe/Berlin)Speaker
14:00 – 14:10Overview of the day
Melissa Gräwert – EMBL Hamburg, Germany
14:10 – 15:10Lecture: SAXS & hybrid modelling
Cy Jeffries – EMBL Hamburg, Germany
15:10 – 16:10Lecture: SAXS & AI based models
Dima Molodenskiy – EMBL Hamburg, Germany
16:10 – 16:30Break
16:30 – 17:30Lecture: SAXS & flexible systems
Pau Bernado – EMBL Hamburg, Germany
17:30 – 18:15Optional: Q&A to self-paced study
Melissa Gräwert – EMBL Hamburg, Germany
OngoingStudent Presentation Wall – show us your SAXS project (mini video or poster)
Day 4 – Thursday 9 November 2023
Time (Europe/Berlin)Speaker
14:00 – 14:10Overview of the day
Clement Blanchet – EMBL Hamburg, Germany
14:10 – 14:50Lecture: SAXS & Integrated Structural Biology
Kristina Djinovic – EMBL Grenoble, France
14:50 – 15:30Lecture: SAXS & Fibrillation Studies
Annette Langkilde – University of Copenhagen, Denmark
15:30 – 16:10Lecture: SAXS & Studies on Viruses
Charlotte Utrecht – HPI, Hamburg, Germany
16:10 – 16:30Break
16:30 – 17:30Keynote Lecture: SAXS for Industry
Dmitri Svergun – BIOSAXS GmbH, Germany
17:30 – 18:15Optional: Q&A to self-paced study
Melissa Gräwert – EMBL Hamburg, Germany
OngoingShow us your results – post a quick feed back on the progress of your data analysis
Day 5 – Friday 10 November 2023
Time (Europe/Berlin)Speaker
14:00 – 14:10Overview of the day
Melissa Gräwert – EMBL Hamburg, Germany
14:10 – 15:10Lecture: SAXS Beyond Proteins
Martin Schroer – University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
15:10 – 16:10Lecture: SAXS & Standards
Jill Trewhella – University of Sydney, Australia
16:10 – 16:30Break
16:30 – 16:50Tutoria: SASBDB for SAXS
Cy Jeffries – EMBL Hamburg, Germany
16:50 – 17:30Course wrap-up
Next Steps, prize ceremony
OngoingShow us your results – post a quick feed back on the progress of your data analysis

On-site programme (27 Nov – 1 December 2023)

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  • Some pre-course work (such as watching pre-recordings, protocol reading and computational exercises) will be required and will be shared in advance of the course.
  • Some speakers may need to join virtually to give their lecture or Q&A, and the programme is subject to change.
  • All times in the programme below are shown as the time in Europe/Berlin
Day 1 – Monday 27 November 2023
Time (Europe/Berlin)SpeakerLocation
10:00 – 11:00Welcome and course overview
Clement Blanchet – EMBL Hamburg, Germany
Melissa Gräwert – EMBL Hamburg, Germany
Seminar Room
11:00 – 12:30Facility Tour
Clement Blanchet – EMBL Hamburg, Germany
Melissa Gräwert – EMBL Hamburg, Germany
Petra III
12:30 – 13:30LunchCoffee Room
13:30 – 16:30Practical 1A / 1B
1A: Hardware overview / Data collection stratgies
1B: Measurement strategies / Sample preparation (I)
Seminar room / User Lab / SPC
16:30 – 17:00BreakCoffee Room
17:00 – 18:30Student presentationsSeminar Room
18:30 – 19:00Q&ACoffee Room
19:00 – 20:30DinnerCoffee Room
Day 2 – Tuesday 28 November 2023
Time (Europe/Berlin)SpeakerLocation
09:30 – 12:30Practical 2A / 2B
2A: Commissioning / Calibration
2B: Sample preparation (I) / Buffer preparation
Seminar room / User Lab / SPC
12:30 – 13:30LunchCoffee Room
13:30 – 14:00Track Exchange
Students provide updates to each other
Seminar room
14:00 – 17:00Practical 3A / 3B
3A: Pipelines for data collection strategies,
VC: SANS instrumentation
3B: Data collection
Seminar room / User Lab / SPC
17:00 – 17:30BreakCoffee Room
17:30 – 19:00Buffer Time:
data collection / data analysis / sample prep
P12 / seminar room / SPC
19:00 – 20:30DinnerCoffee Room
Day 3 – Wednesday 29 November 2023
Time (Europe/Berlin)SpeakerLocation
09:30 – 11:30Practical 4A / 4B
4A: Optical components (Stefan Fiedler)
4B: Data quality assessment
Seminar room
11:30 – 12:30Special tutorial:
SAXS and Alfafold
Seminar room
12:30 – 13:30LunchCoffee room
13:30 – 14:30Buffer Time:
data collection / data analysis / sample prep
P12 / seminar room / SPC
14:30 – 15:00Departureside entrance
18:00 – 18:30DepartureXFEL main gate
18:30 – 20:30Course dinnert.b.d
Day 4 – Thursday 30 November 2023
Time (Europe/Berlin)SpeakerLocation
09:30 – 12:30Practical 7A / 7B
5A: Specialized sample environments
5B: Preparation of non-protein samples (Stefano DaVela)/
Organizing Beamtime Trips (Annette Langkilde)
User Lab / SPC
12:30 – 13:30LunchCoffee Room
13:30 – 14:30TIPPS & TRICKS Session
* beamtime application
* samples for industry
* beyond solution SAXS
* advanced SAXS analysis
Seminar room
14:30 – 17:30Practical 6A / 6B
6A: Pipelines for data analysis
VC: Working with lab sources (Al Kikhney, Soren Skou)
6B: Data collection — AF4-SAXS
Seminar room / User Lab / SPC
17:30 – 18:00BreakCoffee Room
18:00 – 19:00Special Lecture:
Dmitri Svergun
Seminar room
19:00 – 21:00Dinner
with Meet & Greet
Coffee Room
Day 5 – Friday 1 December 2023
Time (Europe/Berlin)SpeakerLocation
09:30 – 12:30Buffer Time:
data collection / data analysis / sample characterization
User Lab / SPC
12:30 – 13:30LunchCoffee Room
13:30 – 14:00Last reminder:
Reporting (beamline settings / data quality), Beamline access
Seminar room
14:00 – 14:45Special Lecture:
Zehra Sayers
Seminar room
14:45 – 15:15Course Wrap UpSeminar room
15:15 – 15:45departureCoffee Room

Practical information

Registration fees and motivation letter

The number of participants will be limited to 60 virtual participants and 10 participants for the on-site  module.

When applying for this course you will have the possibility to apply for only the virtual module or for both virtual and on-site modules. Please note that only students that have completed the virtual module will be taken into consideration in the selection for an on-site module.


Registration fees for the virtual module include access to online lectures and other course materials.

PhD Student€75

Registration fees for the on-site module include accommodation in single rooms at the DESY guesthouse, all meals throughout the duration of the course, and course materials. Travel expenses are NOT covered with the registration fee.

PhD Student€400

Please note that students selected for the on-site module will have their virtual module registration fee waived and will only have to pay the on-site registration fee.

A letter to support your visa application will be issued, on request, once payment of the registration fee is confirmed.

We recommend that you book your visa appointment as soon as possible, to avoid any delay with your visa application.

Confirmation and payment

The registration fee should be paid only after acceptance to the course. The results will be announced approximately 2-3 weeks after the application deadline.

Motivation letter submission

After you have logged in and successfully registered, you will receive an email asking you to submit your motivation letter. Click on the link provided and enter your motivation letter in the text box provided. Alternatively you can submit your motivation letter by clicking on the link on the confirmation page directly after registering.


  1. Include your relevant skills, experience and qualifications showing why you would be suitable for the course.
  2. Explain why you would like to attend, including what you can contribute and how you think you will benefit from the course.

Please note:

  • The limit of 2000 characters refers to manually typed text and excludes spaces. If an error occurs try using a different web browser (preferably Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox).
  • If you copy-paste the text into the form, hidden formatting might still be included which may cause the text to exceed the 2,000 character limit resulting in an error message. We recommend you clear all formatting before pasting in the text.
  • If you have special symbols in your text, make sure you are using Unicode characters, otherwise these will not be recognised.

For more detailed information, follow the instructions provided in our video on how to submit a course motivation letter.

Further details

For further information about registration and motivation letter submission please refer to the FAQ page.

Financial assistance

Limited financial assistance in the form of both registration fee waivers (for virtual module) and travel grants (for the on-site module) is available for this course. You will be able to apply for the financial assistance during the motivation letter submission process.

Your place in the meeting is only confirmed by paying the registration fee, which is mandatory even when receiving a fee waiver.

Registration fee waiver

The fee waiver will cover the registration sum that you have paid to attend the course or conference.

Travel grant

Recipients will be notified of their travel cap amount when they are informed of the outcome of their application. Original receipts must be provided with your signature for all costs incurred within two months of completion of travel. Scanned copies cannot be accepted.


You may apply for financial assistance when submitting your motivation letter for courses, and abstract for conferences. In your application you will be asked to answer questions regarding why your lab cannot fund your attendance and how your attendance will make a difference to your career. Application for financial support will not affect the outcome of your registration application.


The scientific organisers will select the recipients of all financial assistance during the motivation letter or abstract selection process. Results will be announced approximately 6-8 weeks before the event start date, however for some events this may be delayed. Selection results do not impact your admission to the meeting. Selection is based on your current work or study location, the reasons for needing financial support and the impact this event will have on your career.


Costs will be reimbursed after the meeting only once a reimbursement form and original receipts (from travel costs) have been received.

Further details

View our list of external funding opportunities and information on attending a conference as an event reporter.

For further information about financial assistance please refer to the FAQ page.

Accommodation and transport

Reservations for single room accommodation at the DESY hostel have been made. Note, accommodation is included in the registration fee. The guest house is within a few minutes’ walk from the EMBL laboratories and P12 beamline.

Further information

Address: EMBL Hamburg, Notkestraße 85, Buliding 48e, 22607 Hamburg, Germany

From Hamburg airport take line S1 to Othmarschen (18 stops, 45 min), change to bus number 1 towards Rissen or Schenefelder Holt to Zum Hünengrab (DESY) (5 stops, 10 min).

From Hamburg-Altona train station take bus number 1 to Zum Hünengrab (DESY) (15 stops, 25 min). Ticket costs Public Transport: ca. €3.60 and a taxi will be around €45.

Technical requirements and event software

Event software

The EMBL eCampus learning platform will be used to collaborate, communicate and network with all of the course participants. All participants will receive information on how to join shortly before the course. We recommend using Chrome, Safari or Mozilla Firefox browsers for eCampus. 

At the mandatory on-boarding session on Thursday, 2 November the functionalities of the platform and course content will be further explained.

Technical requirements

Information will be provided for installation of the newest ATSAS package in advance. This will be needed to accomplish the SAXS Quest that will be offered in parallel to the SAXS virtual module.

COVID-19 related questions

Updated information will be provided closer to the time of the on-site module.


Sponsoring possibilities, with the flexibility to select a set sponsorship package or combine individual sponsorship options to suit your event budget. Discounts are available for companies sponsoring multiple events at EMBL Heidelberg. View other events, or contact sponsorship@embl.de for further information.

If you are interested in becoming a media partner of this event, please visit our media partnerships webpage.


EMBL wishes to warn sponsors of EMBL conferences and courses of fraudulent schemes purporting to offer sponsorship opportunities on behalf of EMBL or affiliated with EMBL officials. One current scam campaign of which we are aware is conducted using the name ‘Judy Eastman’ (judy@gopcontact.a2hosted.com) and entails approaches to sponsors offering sponsorship opportunities on EMBL’s behalf. Please be kindly advised that all relevant communication regarding sponsorship of EMBL conferences, symposia and courses is handled by EMBL directly and is sent from an official EMBL account. EMBL does not work with any external providers on sponsorship acquisition.

Please also note that:

  • EMBL never provides attendee lists for purchase. Any offers of such are fraudulent.
  • EMBL will never call or email you to ask for your credit card details or to request a payment.
  • All payments are on invoice.

Suspicious communications purportedly from, for or on behalf of EMBL should be reported to EMBL at the following email address sponsoring@embl.de.

Media kit

Want to let others know you’re attending this event? Take a look at our shareable media and feel free to use them in your social media channels or presentations.

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Date: 6 - 10 Nov 2023

Location: Virtual and EMBL Hamburg

Venue: EMBL Hamburg


Application: Closed


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