European Learning Laboratory for the Life Sciences

Our inspiring educational experiences share the scientific discoveries of EMBL with young learners aged 10-19 years and teachers in Europe and beyond.

EMBL Insight Lecture 2013


The EMBL Insight Lecture 2013 “From Code to Function – Observing Protein Synthesis Through the Electron Microscope” was presented by EMBL group leader Dr. Christiane Schaffitzel on 31st January 2014.

Christiane Schaffitzel and her team study the function and three-dimensional structure of ribosomes using a combination of molecular biology, biochemistry and cryo-electron microscopy. In her talk, Christiane gives an overview of the steps involved in protein synthesis and the role ribosomes play in the process. She then illustrates how her research group uses cryo-electron microscopy to study the structures of these fascinating molecules. Christiane’s central research questions are: what we can learn from the make up of these fascinating molecules and how are synthesised proteins targeted to their destinations?

Concepts covered

• The central dogma of molecular biology
• Protein synthesis
• Molecular structures of the ribosomes
• Ribosomal RNA as an enzyme
• The function of ribosome subunits’ function
• What determines whether a protein is exported or not
• Principals of electron microscopy
• Sample preparation for cryo-electron microscopy and image analysis

Watch lecture

The EMBL Insight Lecture is available via on-demand-streaming from this website. You can watch it directly in the window below. Alternatively, you can open the EMBL Insight Lecture here.

Topic area:  Microscopy & Imaging, Structural & Computational biology

Age group:  16-19