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Ettore Majorana Foundation and Centre for Scientific Culture
President: Professor Antonino Zichichi


Director: Sir Tom Blundell, FRS FMedSci

Scientific Report

The 54th course was the inaugural School on 3D CryoEM image analysis at Erice. 3D CryoEM image analysis refers to the current practices in image processing and analysis both for single particle electron cryo microscopy and cryo electron tomography. The CryoEM technique has been awarded with the Nobel prize in Chemistry in 2017. With 15 tutorials covering the major software packages currently used in the field, the School provided a snapshot of this evolving field. The tutorials were intentionally of limited duration, to give students a broad overview of the available tools with sufficient depth to proceed with detailed study on their own.

The sessions were arranged such that each student could select 10 of the 15 available tutorials to attend and each session included ~3 hours of instruction. Topics included single particle CryoEM, cellular CryoET as well as high resolution model building and refinement. The various software packages make use of cutting-edge techniques such as deep learning and GPU computation.

Nobel Laurate Joachim Frank provided the opening Keynote lecture on development of SPA, David DeRosier delivered two talks about transmission electron microscopy image formation and current pitfalls and limitations of image processing, and Grant Jensen delivered an introductory theory lecture on cellular cryo electron tomography. ThermoFisher (FEI) and Dectris delivered two sponsored talks.

A memorial speech for M. Rossmann was delivered prior to the closing remarks of the meeting.

There were numerous opportunities for networking during the week, including several organized social events including dinners, an opening and closing party, and two excursions to nearby historical sites. Travel time to the sites provided significant opportunities for one on one discussions among the participants. The breakfast/coffee room also provided a site for informal discussions throughout the week.

Awards and participant Feedback

During the last day of the school a session with talks selected from the participants was organized: the lectures for this session were Michelle Christie from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Melbourne (Australia), Karunakar Reddy Pothula, Institute of Complex Systems (ICS-6), Forschungszentrum J├╝lich, Germany, Stefano Stella, Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, Jose L. Vilas, BioComputing Unit., Spanish National Research Council, Madrid, Spain, Joshua B. R. White, Astbury Centre, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Leeds, UK, and Linda Celeste Montemiglio from the Department of Biochemical Sciences "A. Rossi Fanelli", University of Rome, who also was awarded with the best poster prize award together with Jose L. Vilas.

At the end of the Course, participants received an electronic survey to evaluate the course and provide comment on the quality of the program. Their responses indicated that a similar meeting should be held at least within 3 - 4 years and that the course had achieved most of its objectives (score 85/100).