Summer school The fourth John Innes – Rudjer Boškovic ́ summer school in Applied Molecular Microbiology will take place in Dubrovnik, Croatia, from 25 August to 2 September 2012. EMBO Member DAVID HOPWOOD from the John Innes Centre, Norwich is one of the summer school directors. “The title of the summer school is Microbial Metabolites in Nature and Medicine and it will build on the success of the previous courses,” says David. “The aim is to recognise the recent development of interest in microbial metabolites, coupled with the explosive development of sequenc- ing technology, bioinformatics and chemical analysis. A particular urgency has been added to the search for novel antibiotics by the rapid rise in drug- resistance among pathogenic microorganisms and cancers.” New and northerly – Aimed at postgraduate and postdoctoral scientists, the summer school includes a high degree of interaction between the students and faculty, as well as hands-on computer workshops to annotate the genomes and analyse natural product gene clusters. For more details and information on grants, see EMBO Practical Course inspires students The new EMBO Practical Course ‘Modern biophysical methods for protein–ligand interactions’ took place in Oulu, Finland in October. VLADIMIR RYBIN from the EMBL Protein Expression and Purification Core Facility, who was one of the organizers, told EMBOencounters that the course was unique in a number of ways. ©2012 EMBO EMBOencounters | Winter 2011|2012 | 17 Vladimir Rybin (left) and Kalervo Hiltunen open the EMBO Practical Course in Oulu, Finland “Firstly, we tried to give the students effi- cient algorithms to solve protein–ligand interaction problems and the chance to ap- ply the latest biophysical methods to protein interactions. We invited people from both academia and industry and encouraged the students to experiment using brand-new tech- nologies such as thermophoresis.” Vladimir says the students, who came from labs and universities all over the world (more than 12 countries), appreciated this novel approach. The course is not only the first of its kind, but also the most northerly EMBO Course to date, just a few degrees closer to the North Pole than a recent course set in Iceland. “I think it helps to remove people from the classical lab setting,” says Vladimir. “Getting them into an environment where they are surrounded by nature helps them to relax and learn on a deep level. This made the course a very friendly and scientifically rewarding event.” The other course organizers were Kalervo Hiltunen, Christian Boulin, Rik Wierenga and Lloyd Ruddock and the course was co-funded by the Biocenter Oulu, Biocenter Finland and the University of Oulu. COURSES & WORKSHOPS ©2011 | University of Oulu ©2011 | University of Oulu ©2008 Dubrovnik Tourist Board