EMBL Hamburg trains future generations of life scientists in using SAXS
Courses organised by the Svergun Group enable young scientists to gain knowledge and practical experience in using small-angle X-ray scattering
Each year, EMBL Hamburg’s Svergun Group offers practical EMBO courses and lecture courses on biological small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS). The courses provide young scientists an opportunity to gain hands-on experience by measuring their own samples, and by exploring different aspects of SAXS for studying the structure of macromolecules.
Since 2020, the practical courses have also been made available in an online format. Confronted with the 2020 lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the group decided to offer a virtual SAXS lecture course. The syllabus was adapted to the online format and registration information was disseminated. Interest in the 2020 edition of the course far exceeded the organisers’ expectations, as they received over 600 registrations from more than 45 countries – a much larger audience than was possible with the previous face-to-face courses, which typically hosted 20–40 participants.
In this video, four course participants – Line Abildgaard Ryberg from the University of Copenhagen, Alessandro Sicorello from the University College London, Miha Pavšič from the University of Ljubljana, and Dana Saad from the University of Milan – explain how the course helped them in their research and teaching activities.
The course is one of many examples of training opportunities offered by EMBL. Through these courses, EMBL aims to support the professional development of young life scientists and the exchange of expertise among research communities. Dmitri Svergun, EMBL Group Leader and one of the leading SAXS experts worldwide, believes it is vital to share his group’s experience with others. “SAXS is a really universal technique for different types of samples, but many people are not aware of this,” he explains, “Propagating this awareness among the community is important.” In addition to training, courses are an excellent opportunity to network and start new scientific collaborations. EMBL’s SAXS facility in Hamburg provides services and support to scientists in measuring samples and carrying out data analysis, and courses allow members of the facility to address new research communities.
EMBL’s multifaceted training programme is committed to excellence in training at all stages of careers in the life sciences. Alongside training for scientists, EMBL’s education department ELLS shares scientific discoveries with young learners and teachers through inspiring activities.