Structural biologists in Europe are coming together to "share their toys," and collaborate on a large scale in an effort to understand the cell, reports Nature News' Ewen Callaway. Structural biologists have launched the Instruct network to link up 22 structural biology centers throughout Europe, "allowing researchers to access a range of equipment and expertise in a single request," Callaway says. The network makes the collaboration more "systematic," he adds. It also allows structural biologists to come together to request funding for their work.
"Instruct emerged from Europe-wide projects that determined the crystal structures of hundreds of proteins and protein complexes," Callaway says. David Stuart, a structural biologist at the University of Oxford, tells Callaway that the project aims to understand all of the cell's details on multiple scales, likening it to Google Earth. "The idea is to have a 'Google Cell' approach, so you can drill from the cellular context to the atomic detail," Stuart says.