Zombies and crystals

Visitors take a tour during the Fête de la Science Open Day at EMBL Grenoble and Institut de Biologie Structurale, 18 October. PHOTO: Emmanuelle Bensaude
Visitors take a tour during the Fête de la Science Open Day at EMBL Grenoble and Institut de Biologie Structurale, 18 October. PHOTO: Emmanuelle Bensaude

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This year’s Fête de la Science in France lasted three weeks, from 26 September to 19 October, and – in celebration of the International Year of Crystallography – included a fun selection of crystallography-based events throughout Grenoble.

Local activities – including a mesmerizing ‘Crystal mob’ flashmob at Université Grenoble – culminated in an Open Day held jointly by EMBL Grenoble and the neighbouring Institut de Biologie Structurale on 18 October. More than 150 visitors practised their skills as wannabe bacteriologists or tried their hand at fishing protein crystals under a microscope.

“It was an interesting experience,” says Alice Aubert, a research technician in the Berger Group, who acted as guide for a tour of the labs. “People were asking questions and were willing to participate, which created a nice atmosphere.”

First workshop: using Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to understand the structure of proteins. PHOTO: Emmanuelle Bensaude

First workshop: using Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to understand the structure of proteins. PHOTO: Emmanuelle Bensaude

Using bacteria to create green fluorescent protein. PHOTO: Emmanuelle Bensaude

Using bacteria to create green fluorescent protein. PHOTO: Emmanuelle Bensaude

Research in one sentence: “When it’s normal it’s bizarre, when it’s bizarre it’s normal…” PHOTO: Emmanuelle Bensaude

Research in one sentence: “When it’s normal it’s bizarre, when it’s bizarre it’s normal…” PHOTO: Emmanuelle Bensaude

Fishng for crystals under the microscope. PHOTO: Emmanuelle Bensaude

Fishng for crystals under the microscope. PHOTO: Emmanuelle Bensaude

D-Day for a Crystal Z, a game in which players explore crystallography to save the world from a zombie epidemic – EMBL Grenoble contributed scientific content underpinning the game. IMAGE: La Casemate

D-Day for Crystal Z, a game in which players explore crystallography to save the world from a zombie epidemic – EMBL Grenoble contributed scientific content underpinning the game. IMAGE: La Casemate

Learning how crystallography makes it possible to determine the structure of proteins. PHOTO: Emmanuelle Bensaude

Learning how crystallography makes it possible to determine the structure of proteins. PHOTO: Emmanuelle Bensaude

Visitors embraced their roles as apprentice microbiologists. PHOTO: Emmanuelle Bensaude

Visitors embraced their roles as apprentice microbiologists. PHOTO: Emmanuelle Bensaude

The sun sets on a fun-packed Open Day in Grenoble. PHOTO: Emmanuelle Bensaude

The sun sets on a fun-packed Open Day in Grenoble. PHOTO: Emmanuelle Bensaude

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