Words of Advice: teaching macromolecular crystallography

Words of Advice: teaching macromolecular crystallography

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The FEBS Journal is delighted to bring your attention to a fantastic recently published Words of advice article: Bharath Srinivasan’s  Words of advice: teaching macromolecular crystallography is a comprehensive guide for both, instructors and students based in the highly interdisciplinary field of macromolecular crystallography.

The author highlights challenges faced in this field of study by students and teachers alike and suggests that, although the interdisciplinary nature of the subject contributes to complexities associated with teaching/learning it, perhaps an ‘evolution’ in teaching approaches is necessary; one that understands and acknowledges that macromolecular crystallography is not a distinct, isolated field, but a beautiful mixture of chemistry, physics, biology, and mathematics.

He proposes that including the fascinating history behind the field, in addition to incorporating visual learning tools and computational resources when teaching this subject may make it more engaging for students. Indeed, Bharath Srinivasan’s article itself contains a detailed history and overview of crystallography, and includes textbook and software/programs that he recommends for individuals interested in the subject. However, one may suggest that the most impressive aspect of this article is the graphite and chalk portraits of notable contributors to the field, hand-drawn by the author, which can be seen in Figures 3, 4, 5 and 6.

To conclude, this article is a great resource for those wishing to teach, or learn about macromolecular crystallography, and is a remarkable addition to Bharath Srinivasan’s previous Words of advice piece, Teaching enzyme kinetics.

Cover image credited to Element5 Digital on Unsplash, ‘red apple fruit on four pyle books’.

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