Instruct Newsletter – December 2017


Welcome to the Instruct end of the year Instruct newsletter where you will find a description of activities taking place at the Hub and the Centres of Instruct-ERIC. This has been a particularly eventful few months for Instruct with the launch of Instruct-ERIC at a Royal Society award ceremony celebrating the prestigious new European Commission-approved status for our structural biology Research Infrastructure. At the launch the UK Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation Jo Johnson recognised the value and relevance of collaborative work between the UK and European scientists. In the nine years of Instruct development, there have been many people who have contributed and this success is thanks to them. Congratulations to all who played their part and we look forward to a bright and productive future as Instruct-ERIC.

Introducing Instruct-ULTRA

Building on the success of Instruct, Instruct-ULTRA was launched in 2017 to deepen and widen access to innovative high-end structural biology techniques within Europe and beyond. The project is funded by EU Horizon 2020 for four years and involves partners from sixteen European countries.

One of the initiatives of Instruct-ULTRA is supporting the development of new cutting edge technology that could be brought into the portfolio of services provided by Instruct-ERIC. Therefore, following a call for proposals from the partners of Instruct-ULTRA, six projects have been selected covering both experimental and computational methods. These include the implementation of primed photo-activation for super resolution imaging, focused ion beam micromachining of cellular lamellas for in situ structural biology and the application of electron parametric resonance to characterise highly mobile proteins and weak protein-protein (ligand) complexes. Progress on these projects will be reported on the Instruct-ULTRA website over the next year and show-cased in coming newsletters.

News and events from the Hub


West-Life/CORBEL developer and project manager Narayanan Krishnan, newly appointed manager Natalie Haley and Hub Coordinator Susan Daenke participated in CORBEL Workpackage working groups and management committees. After a successful first CORBEL integrated call which used Instruct access management system ARIA activities included the first periodic report approved by the EC. Within CORBEL Instruct submitted a training event for Research Managers proposal which was successful and will be organised next year.


ARIA developer Fiona Sanderson, Instruct project manager Claudia Alén Amaro and Hub Coordinator Susan Daenke participated in iNEXT Workpackage working groups and management committees. Instruct activities were included in the first periodic report approved by the EC. iNEXT utilises Instruct access management software ARIA for their proposal submission and access management. In this context, next February a workshop will take place in Amsterdam to train access managers on ARIA new features and gather feedback for future developments.


Horizon 2020 project Instruct-ULTRA started work this year coordinated from the Instruct-Hub.  Naomi Grey has joined the Instruct team as project manager for this project and is busy organising the coming annual meeting (March 2018). Instruct-ULTRA is a Horizon 2020 Infradev-3 project coordinated by Instruct. It aims to accelerate the expanded implementation of Instruct by opening it up to new members in Europe and partnerships at the global level; and increasing the effectiveness of user access to key technologies, working as appropriate with manufacturers and other industry stakeholders.

4 July

Claudia Alén Amaro organised one of the breakout sessions at the annual meeting of the University of Oxford Research & Innovation support network.

18 July

Launch of Instruct-ERIC at the Royal Society in London with talks by Instruct Director Dave Stuart and Instruct deputy director Lucia Banci. The new legal status for Instruct transforms it into a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC), joining 16 others across Europe. As the second UK-hosted ERIC, Instruct will provide the European structural biology community with continued access to high-quality, stable and sustainable services.

20-21 July

Instruct-ULTRA coordinator Prof Ray Owens participated of the ARBRE-Mobieu Conference in Edinburgh continuing our collaboration with this network. Following this collaboration a visit was organised by Robert Gilbert from Instruct-UK for a 2 weeks staff exchange which took place in November with the visit of Tiziana Martinelli from CNR Istituto de Biofisica, di Fotonica e Nanotecnologie.

10-14 September

In collaboration with EuroBioimaging and EUOpenScreen, Instruct organised a session on access to research infrastructure at the 42nd Congress of The Federation of the European Biochemical Societies (FEBS) which took place in Israel. Instruct Director Dave Stuart gave a talk at the session which was chaired by Instruct-IL Joel Sussman.

15-16 September

Ray Owens presented Instruct at the 2nd Exchange of Experience (EoE) workshop organised by EuroBioImaging in India. The main theme of the EoE II was to commonly develop guidelines for “International open user access in imaging infrastructures”.

22 September

Continuing our collaboration with South America, Instruct Hub received the visit of Alejandro Buschiazzo from the Institute Pasteur in Montevideo. Further contacts took place in the last few months with visits to Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay by the leads of Instruct-FR Alberto Podjarny and Instruct-ES Jose Maria Carazo.

17-19 October

In the context of the CORBEL Work Package 9, Claudia Alén Amaro participated in the staff exchange event organised by CCMAR (EMBRC) in Faro. It was a great opportunity to share experiences, best practices and lessons learned when running Research Infrastructures. In addition to visits to the facilities offered by EMBRC at Faro, the staff exchange participants discussed access procedures, financial management, sustainability and communication strategies. The feedback from the experience was extremely positive and Instruct-ERIC is planning to host a similar event in the next few months.

27 October

The first meeting of the Instruct-ERIC council took place in Brussels hosted at an Instruct-CZ venue. The Council is the main strategic body of Instruct with representatives from the governments of all Instruct Countries.

21-23 November

Fiona Sanderson and Narayanan Krishnan participated of the second general meeting of AARC2 - Life Sciences AAI Pilot. CORBEL, through BBMRI-ERIC, ELIXIR, INFRAFRONTIER and Instruct-ERIC, is represented at AARC2 project. AARC2 project aims address increasing needs for federated access and for authentication and authorisation infrastructures (AAIs) by research infrastructures. Through CORBEL Work Package 5 and Work Package 6, requirements for a common AAI solution for Bio Medical Sciences Research Infrastructures were collected. A call was advertised to e-Infrastructures to run a pilot implementation of Life Sciences AAI solution and multiple proposals were received. The BMS AAI working group from CORBEL evaluated the proposals and invited a consortium of EGI-EUDAT-GÉANT to implement and run the pilot solution under the auspice of AARC2 project. Phase 1 of the pilot is expected to be ready for testing by early February 2018. For more information on AARC2, follow this link.

28-29 November

Jose Maria Carazo and Alun Ashton represented Instruct at the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) stakeholders forum in Brussels.

30 November -1 December

Fiona Sanderson represented Instruct at the Digital Infrastructures for Research 2017 meeting in Amsterdam

2-6 December

In collaboration with EuroBioimaging and EUOpenScreen, Instruct organised a session on access to research infrastructure at the ASCB/EMBO Meeting which took place in Philadelphia. Instruct Project Manager Claudia Alén Amaro gave a talk at the session.

News and events from Instruct Centres

From Instruct France 1

Instruct-ERIC was presented at the Third User meeting of the national FRISBI infrastructure the 20th of November and at the First FRISBI / ProFi Proteomics meeting the 21 of November. The tight links between the national and European infrastructure of integrated structural biology was emphasized.  See the announcement of the 2 meetings at

Publication highlights

Beatriz González Pérez, an Instruct user from CSIC, Spain, visited IGBMC Strasbourg to perform expression in insect cells and high throughput crystallisation leading to the crystallisation of the inositol phosphate kinase mIP5 2-K.  Find out more here.

Instruct-ERIC Cryo-EM facilities at IGBMC-CERBM Strasbourg were used to visualise rRNA chemical modifications in human ribosomes. The work has recently been published in Nature.  Find out more here.

From Instruct France 2

Publication highlights

Sofía M. García-Mauriño, an Instruct user from Seville University, Spain, used the Cell-Free platform of Instruct-ERIC France 2 for the production of her samples, leading to successful structure solution. 

Find out more here.

From Instruct Czech Republic

In September 2017, Czech Infrastructure for Integrative Structural Biology (CCISB) launched a new web interface (  The website was redesigned with the intention to simplify access to the information content and to make the website more interactive.  

The second day of National Research Infrastructures took place at CEITEC Masaryk University in Brno on November 2, 2017. National Research Infrastructures of the Czech Republic and their activities are presented here.  

XV. Discussions in Structural Molecular Biology and the 2nd User Meeting of the Czech Infrastructure for Integrative Structural Biology will take place in Nové Hrady, Czech Republic, March 22-24, 2018. The deadline for registration & submission of abstracts is Monday February 19, 2018. For more information or to register click here.  

The first CIISB Newsletter, which will be published biannually with the intention to summarise the most important developments from the past 6 months, has been published in October 2017 ( 

From Instruct Spain

Instruct Image Processing Center (I2PC)  

Scipion 1.1 Release: In October 2017 a new version of the integrative  platform for Electron Microscopy was officially released  (

I2PC will give a course on the use of Scipion in the cloud in  Madrid between Jan. 17-19th 2018 and on the use of Scipion workflows in  Brno between Jan. 25-26th 2018. More information can be found here.

Publication highlights
I2PC has collaborated in the design of protein origami  nanostructures leading to a recent publication in Nature Biotechnology. Find out more here.

Reprinted by permission from: Nature Biotechnology "Design of coiled-coil protein-origami cages that self-assemble in vitro and in vivo", Ajasja Ljubetič, Fabio Lapenta, Helena Gradišar, Igor Drobnak, Jana Aupič et al., Copyright (2017). doi:10.1038/nbt.3994

From Instruct Israel

Instruct-IL lead Professor Joel Sussman participated of the bilateral workshop “Czech – Israeli Innovation Day" on the 20th November 2017. His talk described what Instruct-ERIC is, the Instruct-ERIC signing ceremony and the Instruct Biennial Structural Biology conference in Brno which took place in May, 2017.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the Instruct Hub

X-ray diffraction crystal structure of Cas4 nuclease. Molecular model by Fred Dyda, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, PDB entry number 4ic1.

Please note that the Instruct hub will be closed from 25th December - 3rd January inclusive. Happy Holidays!

More News and Events

More about these and other news at or everyday on Twitter @Instructhub. Past newsletters are available online.