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EMBO Practical Course

Membrane Protein Expression, Purification and Characterization (mPEPC2)

05 – 12 September 2022 | Hamburg, Germany

  • Registration Deadline
  • 15 June 2022
  • Abstract Submission Deadline
  • 15 August 2022
  • Chosen Participants Will Be Notified By
  • 4 July 2022
  • Payment Deadline
  • 1 September 2022

Apply now!

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About the Practical Course

Integral membrane proteins (IMPs) are encoded by 20-30 % of all open reading frames and provide key functions in the cell. Due to their hydrophobic nature, they are more difficult to study and structural information is lacking far behind their soluble counterparts. This course trains PhD students and early career postdocs with the latest developments in membrane protein production, characterization and structure determination methods. Modern protein expression techniques in various hosts will be presented and students will get acquainted with new crystallization, Cryo-EM and reconstitution techniques. An attitude to combine protein purification and characterization will be taught to impress the necessity on the students that proteins have to be conditioned with care to achieve structural information. The presence of a crystallization and cryo-EM facility as well as beamlines for SAXS and macromolecular crystallography at the venue will be employed to perform integrated structural biology experiments. The course has an emphasis on practicals in small groups, and a "Meet the scientist" session at the beginning of the course will ensure a close interaction between students and tutors. The aim is to inspire the students to apply the newly acquired knowledge and to maintain interactions among themselves and the tutors afterwards.

Practical work:
1. Expression of membrane proteins in HEK293/insect cells via transient transfection using GFP-fusion proteins.
2. Quality control of purified membrane protein preparations: nanoDSF and Blue Native PAGE.
3. Small Angle X-ray Scattering on integral membrane proteins.
4. Crystallization of integral membrane proteins in lipidic cubic phase.
5. Grid preparation for negative stain EM, data acquisition, analysis and low resolution 3D reconstruction.
6. Reconstitution of membrane proteins in proteoliposomes followed by functional analysis
7. Bioinformatics on membrane protein sequences and modelling of membrane protein structures.
8. Serial crystallography of small membrane protein crystals grown in Crystal Direct plates.

Accepted students are encouraged to bring their own samples (frozen state) for quality control, crystallization and negative stain EM. Precise shipment conditions and information will be provided to the selected applicants.

About EMBO Courses and Workshops

EMBO Courses and Workshops are selected for their excellent scientific quality and timelines, provision of good networking activities for all participants and speaker gender diversity (at least 40% of speakers must be from the underrepresented gender).

Organisers are encouraged to implement measures to make the meeting environmentally more sustainable.







  • Registration Deadline
  • 15 June 2022
  • Abstract Submission Deadline
  • 15 August 2022
  • Chosen Participants Will Be Notified By
  • 4 July 2022
  • Payment Deadline
  • 1 September 2022



Registration includes:

  • Single room on-site accommodation in the DESY guesthouse
  • All meals throughout the duration of the course
  • Course material


Payment instructions will be sent to successful applicants once the selection procedure is complete.

Selection criteria

Applicants in the early stage of their research careers (mid to end of Ph.D. project or early postdoctoral career) will be given preference based on their application and letters of reference. Participants from laboratories within EMBC Member States will be given priority, and the aim is to reach an even balance in gender and geographical location. The course is limited to 20 participants. We also welcome applications from non-academic labs.

For selection purposes, as part of your registration, you are requested to submit a short letter of motivation (outlining your research area and explaining how you and your host lab would benefit from attending this course; max. 800 words) and a letter of recommendation from your supervisor. Please submit these documents directly to

Please note that your application will not be considered without a complete motivation and recommendation letter.

Abstract guidelines

Abstract submission is only required for accepted participants. The abstract should describe work in progress, so that the tutors and co-participants can get an impression of the topic and the technical challenges of the project of the participant. Length: no more than 300 words. Please include title, list of authors and affiliations.

In addition, accepted students are expected to give a short (max. 5 min) presentation about their own work during the first two days of the course.

Poster specifications

A0 paper size

Travel grants

A limited number of travel grants are available for participants. Applicants do not need to apply separately for travel grants for this event but should indicate on the registration form if they wish to be considered for a travel grant. Selection of awardees is handled directly by the organizer who will notify all eligible participants. More information is available at EMBO Travel Grants page.

Child care grant

EMBO Courses and Workshops offers grants to offset additional child care costs incurred by participants or speakers when participating at any EMBO Courses and Workshop funded meeting. Eligible costs include fees for a caregiver or child-care facility, travel costs for a caregiver, or travel costs for taking the child to the meeting etc. Please indicate on the registration form whether you would like to be considered for the grant. Please also describe how you intend to use the child care grant and specify the sum that you will need.



Margret Fischer
Phone: +49-4089902110


Christian Löw




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EMBL Hamburg and Centre for Structural Systems Biology

Notkestrasse 85, Building 48e and 15

D-22607 Hamburg, Germany


Single room on-site accommodation at the DESY hostel will be offered to student participants, which is within a few minutes’ walk from the EMBL laboratories and CSSB. DESY possesses a canteen for breakfast/lunch and a bistro open in the evening and during weekends.


Information on how to travel to EMBL Hamburg.

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. €3.30.

A taxi will be around €45.

About the Area

Hamburg is a lively and cosmopolitan city in the North of Germany. There will be an opportunity to explore the city on Saturday afternoon. Please visit the Hamburg city website.

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