Key information

Next planned course: December 4-8, 2023
Registration deadlines: October 23, 2023
Host university: UiT
Course responsible: Dr Areej Abuhammad

Grading: Evaluation of a written report (pass/fail)
Credits: 3 ECTS
Format: On-site in Tromsø


Important! Registration is binding! Do not register for a course unless you are sure that you can attend. Cancellations may result in suspension from BioCat activities and funding.

  1. Register to BioCat using the form at the bottom of this page. You will receive a Certificate of Completion upon passing the course, which you can present to your local administration. They will enter your credits manually.


Crystallography is the method of choice for obtaining structural information at atomic resolution of biological macromolecules. However obtaining crystals of the macromolecules is still one of the major bottlenecks in the structure determination process.

This course is aimed at students with little or no prior experience in crystallization of biological macromolecules. Lectures will include theoretical aspects of crystallization as well as practical methods, but the course is practical oriented with “hands on” work at the lab. The course will cover basic theory for crystal formation and growth, and methods for setting up crystallization trials. How to do preliminary studies in order to increase the probability of crystal growth, how to evaluate and optimize results, and how to handle crystals for further treatment (storing, mounting, cryo-protection, etc.) will also be part of the course. In addition, students will be introduced to how crystal structures are solved and to the state of the art “high through-put” crystallomics and the international status for this field of science.


The course will be led by Dr Areej Abuhammad from the University of Jordan. Guest lecturers Terese Bergfors from Uppsala University and Elspeth Garman from the University of Oxford will also participate.

Each day will start with 1 or 2 lectures followed by lab work. Crystallization experiments will be done both manually and with a robot. Several proteins will be proposed. Participants can also bring their own purified protein. A report will be written describing crystallization theory, experimental setup and results of the lab experiments.

The total workload is estimated to about 90 hours and divides into:

  • 8 hours of lectures (on site)
  • 32 hours of labwork (on site)
  • 10 hours literature studies
  • 3 hours preparation for final report and individual feedback (on site)
  • 37 hours writing final report

See the course schedule below:

Work requirement

  • Minimum 80% attendance
  • Approved project work/report

Exam and evaluation

The final grades will be “pass” or “fail,” based on the quality of the written report.


Pensum consists of lecture notes and other supporting material made available electronically.

Learning outcome

The candidate will acquire a solid and broad theoretical and practical basis to understand, set up and evaluate crystallization experiments.


  • Have thorough insight into the prerequisites for increasing the likelihood of success when setting up crystallization trials, and will know potential bottlenecks and pitfalls.
  • Have an overview over different crystallization methods, and knowledge to decide when to use the various methods.
  • Possess knowledge of intrinsic and external factors influencing the crystallization process.
  • Have insight how to plan, perform, evaluate and optimize crystallization trials.


  • Be able to plan, set up and evaluate crystallization experiments.
  • Be able to mount crystals for X-ray data collection.

General competence

  • Understand the role biological macromolecule crystal structures have in the general understanding of biological processes.
  • Understand the relevance and the usefulness of crystal structures, and how the structures can be further exploited.
  • Be able to present research results.

The course is full and registration is now closed.