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Programme features

The lecture session each morning will have a theme, which will be introduced briefly by Prof. Carey each morning. Monday’s lecturers will focus on principles of the laboratory methods offered on the course, with the aim of preparing students for the practicals, followed on Tuesday by lectures on methods not offered in the practicals. Wednesday will see the first of the student talks, continuing for remainder of the course. On Thursday will Prof. Carey present her seminars on ligand-binding theory and cooperativity, followed in the evening by the plenary speaker, Prof. Alan Cooper, author of one of the most widely-cited early papers on the phenomenon of allostery, who will speak on mechanisms of allostery including his recent work on that topic. The Friday and Saturday morning lectures will continue the student talks, and will also include Prof. Xue's lecture on error analysis and seminar on analysis of students' own data.

All invited speakers will have 45-minute time-slots (except plenary, one hour), and are instructed that their talks shall be designed to promote questions and discussion during the final ~10 minutes of their allotted time. Each laboratory group of students will be instructed to work together to develop questions for each speaker. Student speakers will also be instructed to allow approximately 5 minutes for questions and discussion. Each laboratory group of students will work together to develop at least one question for each student, based on the student's poster.

All organizers, tutors, and invited lecturers will be instructed to pose questions and offer discussion points after all talks, including student talks, so as to encourage maximum engagement of all participants. Each evening, the day’s speakers will participate in an evening roundtable to encourage informal discussion among all participants. Sunday's and Monday’s roundtables will feature all the tutors for the laboratory practicals, so students will have the chance to clarify their understanding of the approaches and procedures, and any logistical problems that arise during the first lab sessions can be addressed with appropriate minor modifications. Later in the week the invited speakers who do not tutor will also join the roundtables. On all evenings, informal discussions will continue during the following social hour. Lectures will comprise ~40% of total course time (including student oral presentations), practical work and demonstrations will comprise ~50%, and seminars will comprise ~10%.

The five experimental methods featured in the practicals (SPR, ITC, fluorescence, UV, and microscale thermophoresis) will run concurrently on each afternoon, as indicated in the table. One experimental station will be dedicated to each of the methods, and each will be overseen by an expert tutor. The physical setup of each station will accommodate groups of up to six-seven students at once, although it is not expected that all students will have systems suitable for all methods. We estimate that each afternoon, at least 3 to 4 students from each group will be able to complete their experiment with the method assigned to their group on that day.

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