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.

On-site LearningLAB  

Bringing structures to life, October 2016


The European Learning Laboratory for the Life Sciences (ELLS) invites European secondary school science teachers to apply for the ELLS LearningLAB “Bringing structures to life – new ways of teaching biology”. The course will take place in the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Hamburg, Germany on 10 and 11 October 2016. The course language is English and is free

The course will provide an interactive introduction to the field of structural biology. The professional training course for secondary school science teachers will consist of a mix of seminars by EMBL scientists, hands-on activities, lab experiments and visits to world-class research facilities on the campus of the German Electron Synchrotron (DESY). The programme will cover a wide range of topics and highlight the use of cutting-edge technologies to study macromolecular structures on the atomic scale, and how these topics may be transferred to the classrooms.

During the 2-day course, a combination of seminars, discussions and hands-on activities will:

  • Introduce you to X-ray crystallography and its great potential to gain insights into the structure and function of macromolecules;
  • Update your knowledge on current biological research and get you in touch with research scientists;
  • Illustrate a range of classroom activities and experiments, and equip you to use the presented resources to support your teaching of biology;
  • Include visits to world-class research facilities at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory Hamburg and the German Electron Synchrotron (DESY);
  • Introduce you to the DESY physics out-of-school lab
  • Allow you to network and share your experiences with European teacher colleagues.

Programme overview

The course will start at 9:00 on 10th October and end at 16:00 on 11th October 2016.

  • Scientific presentations by EMBL scientists on cutting-edge technologies in protein crystallography and on new tools to treat antibiotic resistance
  • Laboratory experiments: protein crystallisation kit for schools
  • Hands-on activities and other teaching resources for the classroom
  • Guided visit to the impressive beamlines of the German Electron Synchrotron (DESY)
  • Insights into research careers
  • Visit to DESY physics out-of-school lab
  • Platform to network and share your experiences with colleagues.

Location/ Travel


EMBL Hamburg is situated at the campus of DESY (Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron – German Electron Synchrotron) in Hamburg-Bahrenfeld, Germany.


Travel instructions on how to reach EMBL Hamburg can be found here: Travel to EMBL Hamburg


Application deadline: Monday, 29th August, 5pm CET – early registrations are welcome and more likely to be successful.

To apply, please fill in the online course application form which can be found here: Application form

You will be notified of the outcome of your application within 2 weeks of the application deadline. If successful, we will ask you to confirm your attendance within a couple of days of the notification email.

Maximum number of course participants: 24
Minimum number of course participants: 15


Single-room accommodation on the DESY campus will be provided free of charge for 2 nights to participants not residing in Hamburg. The nights covered are 9th and 10th October 2016, i.e. Sunday to Tuesday.


Travel expenses to and from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Hamburg, Germany need to be covered by the LearningLAB participants.

We have a small number of ELLS travel bursaries available to cover part of an individual’s travel expenses. These bursaries are aimed at participants who would have difficulties attending the course without financial aid.If you would like to apply for a bursary, please fill in the bursary section in the course application form.Eligibility requirements for ELLS travel bursary

  • All applicants must be active in teaching biology to 16-19 year old students.
  • Candidates of any nationality may apply but must be resident and work in the EU and associated member states.
  • Bursary recipients will receive partial support for their incurred travel costs upon completion of the course.
  • Only complete bursary applications received via the application form will be considered for review.

Bursaries will be awarded on the basis of:

  • Justification of use of the funds to support your attendance of the LearningLAB.
  • Demonstration of involvement with national (and possibly international) teaching networks and a commitment to sharing course materials through these.

Date: 10 - 11 October 2016

Topic area:  Structural & Computational biology

Format: Face-to-face

Location: Germany

Contact: ELLS Team

Organiser: ELLS