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Department of Biochemistry

Calendar of Events


The UZH corona safety concept, dated 1.7.2021, mandates that a mask must be worn in all publicly accessible indoor areas. When delivering protein samples to PCC, you must wear a face mask from the moment you enter an UZH building.

Masks are mandatory in all publicly accessible indoor areas of UZH. This explicitly also applies to on-site seminars or lectures and to workspaces for independent study for which registration is not required.

Masks are no longer required in all workplaces (offices, laboratories, workshops, etc.) in indoor areas not accessible to the public, and at workspaces for independent study for which registration is required (e.g. in libraries), provided that the safety concepts are observed and the distance of 1.5m from other people can be maintained.

Masks are also no longer required in outdoor areas.

New screen:

Check out the new and improved EZ-Excel Screen Builder tool.

The Small Molecule Anion screen developed by Prof. Dr. Bernhard Spingler (UZH) is now available as GS086 .

Crystal Screen 1+2 Cryo GS084
Hampton Research screen detail: HR2-122 + HR2-121

The Ammonium sulfate screen GS002 has been newly designed and is now available as GS085.

What’s new:
PCC now additionally supports researchers with preparing custom screens through their pipetting service. The researcher can freely compose a screen with up to 30 different stock solutions.
Be sure to have a look and feel free to ask the PCC staff concerning this new service.

What's New in ROCK MAKER 3.17? Protein Crystallization Software Update ROCK MAKER® 3.17

RockImager and Liquid Handler Status

RockImager 20°C:
The imaging schedule is on time.

RockImager 4°C:
The imaging schedule is on time.

Crystal Gryphon 4°C:
In Operation.

Crystal Gryphon LCP 20°C:
In Operation.

Crystal Phoenix 20°C:
In Operation.

Freedom EVO w/ MCA 96 + RoMa
In Operation

Freedom EVO w/ LiHa
In Operation

Opti-Matrix Maker™
In Operation


Department of Biochemistry
University of Zurich
Winterthurerstr. 190
CH-8057 Zurich
Office: Y44 J 30/34

Beat Blattmann
Tel.: +41 44 635 6557

Experimental Setup

Scheduling the crystallization experiments:
The CORE user account allows the researcher to schedule the crystallization experiments within the crystallization calendar and thereby reserve date/time and specify the number of plates and setup temperature. This will ensure PCC is ready process your protein without any delay. When booking the crystallization experiments please keep in mind that PCC's capacity  is limited to a maximum of 16 plates per half day.

Setting up the crystallization experiments:
The CORE user account allows the researcher to access the RockMaker application via the Citrix Workspace. Therein the crystallization experiments can and must be setup prior to delivering the protein samples.
For new researchers, a personal login for accessing the RockMaker application is created during the first visit to PCC. At the same time, the researcher receives instructions on how to efficiently and effectively set up and organize the crystallization experiments using the RockMaker application.
Within the Rockmaker application the following information can be specified:

Screen and Reservoir solution:
All initial crystallization screens offered by PCC are stored in deep well master blocks at 4°C and are available to the researcher for their experiments. Custom screens can be prepared delivered by the researcher or via the service offered at PCC. The latter requires the researcher to deliver the stock solutions in, for example, 50 ml Falcon tubes 3 days prior to the scheduled crystallization experiments. “Read-to-go” crystallization screens provided by the researcher have to be in a 96-well standard format and can be delivered the same day with the protein.
A Tecan EVO liquid handler is used to transfer 75 ul of each the 96 screening solutions from the deep well master block into the reservoir wells of the crystallization plate.

Crystallization plate:
The standard plates used for all vapor diffusion crystallization experiments are either the SWISSCI UVXPO 2 Lens crystallization plate (Cat# UVXPO-2LENS) or the ARI Intelli-Plate 96-3 LVR (Cat# 102-0001-03) (Material/Equipment).

Setting up the nano-drop experiments:
The standard setup temperature of the crystallization experiment is room temperature (~21°C). For temperature labile protein samples the researcher can request a setup temperature of 4°C. It is essential that the researcher already specify the setup temperature in the  crystallization calendar.
Depending on setup temperature, one of two nano-drop liquid handlers – Phoenix (20°C) or Gryphon-LCP (4°C) – is used for pipetting the vapor diffusion crystallization experiment.
The researcher also specifies the drop volumes for each of the two or three crystallization wells. This volume generally ranges between 100nl and 250nl for the protein sample and the reservoir solution. The researcher can, for example, explore the protein/mother liquor ratio as a screening variable.
Depending on the selected crystallization plate up to two or three different protein samples can be dispensed in one crystallization plate.
The protein sample volume required for setting up crystallization plates can be found in Sample Volume.

A Crystal Clear sealing tape from Hampton Research (Cat# HR4-506) seals all sitting drop crystallization experiments prior to incubation at 4 °C or 20 °C as specified by the researcher. A confirmation email will inform the researcher upon successful incubation.

The following review provides a summary of the current methods and technologies applied in automated platforms for the setup of initial and follow-up crystallization experiments:
P. Shaw Stewart and J. Mueller-Dieckmann
Automation in biological crystallization.
Acta Cryst. (2014). F70