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Frankfurt Workshop

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Computational tools, like the molecular graphics program VMD and molecular dynamics program NAMD, move rapidly from theoretical to experimental biology. To train researchers in the proper use of computational tools, a series of hands-on workshops was organized in the US and Australia in 2003-2005 (see July 2005 highlight). This year the first European hands-on workshop started a new generation of training with three novel features. First, the workshop addressed mainly bench scientists in need of computational methods. Second, the workshop introduced a key expansion of VMD that turned a mainly structurally oriented visualization program into a structure and sequence analysis program. This is achieved through a multiple sequence analysis tool in VMD, called multiseq. Third, all training material has been extended to multiple platforms and participants could bring their own laptops for the training sessions. As in the previous series, participants enjoyed workshop lectures that introduced concepts and good uses of biocomputing software, but were most enthusiastic about practical tutorials that provided opportunities to learn by example and to apply newly mastered tools to their own research. The participants carried all lecture material and software home on a DVD; others can obtain the same material through our web site (workshop lectures, tutorials, case studies, VMD, NAMD).