The British Crystallographic Association is - as its name implies - the principal UK based scientific society for crystallographers. It is organised into several sections, one of which, the Biological Structures Group, is concerned with protein structure (as studied by X-ray diffraction).
The BSG, as it is known, holds its main yearly meeting (known as the Winter Meeting) in mid-December, often, but not always, in London. The 2007 meeting was held yesterday (18 Dec.) at the London School of Pharmacy. The overall theme of a wide-ranging programme was "Structural Investigations of Gene Regulation", covering an enormous variety of proteins that interact with DNA and control how and when genes are expressed.
Overall, the programme was divided into three sections: The Histone Code, Upstream Regulation, and Transcription, Translation and Recombination. And Birkbeck was represented in all but the first section. Tracey Barrett, who is course director for our Protein Crystallography course, presented her new structure of a kinase complexed to a protein from the virus that causes Kaposi's sarcoma (the most common cancer found in people with AIDS). Our new bioinformatics lecturer, Alona Sosinsky, described a model for DNA sequence recognition based on subtle differences in DNA structure rather than specific chemical groups.
More later, perhaps...
And Merry Christmas!