Boot Camp Winter 2021

8th Annual Interdisciplinary Quantitative Biology Winter Boot Camp

Theme: Science Communication; Format: Online
Sponsors: Rutgers Institute for Quantitative Biomedicine and RCSB Protein Data Bank
Dates: January 11-15, 2021


Articles published from this Boot Camp: DNA-Sequencing Nanopores; Fetal Hemoglobin; Glucocorticoid Receptor and Dexamethasone; Designed Proteins and Citizen Science; Ribonuclease P.


  • Research Professor David S. Goodsell, Ph.D.
  • University Professor Stephen K. Burley, M.D., D.Phil.
  • Associate Research Professor Shuchismita Dutta, Ph.D.

Invited Speakers​ (to be confirmed)

  • Maria Voigt (Scientific Illustrator/Communicator)
  • Liza Gross (Science Writer/Editor/Communicator)

Who:Talented undergraduate (juniors/seniors) and graduate students interested in science writing/visualization/communications.Both Rutgers Students and Visiting Students are encouraged to apply.

Application/Acceptance:Interested participants ​ must apply by submitting a resume, an unofficial transcript, and a science writing sample (pdfs)to before 5pm EST on October 31st 2020. Accepted participants will be notified no laterthan November 6th and provided with a Special Permission Number.

Registration:Accepted students ​ must register for the 1-credit Pass/Fail Interdisciplinary Quantitative Biology Winter Boot Camp (Undergraduate Junior/Senior Students use 01:556:480, 1 credit Pass/Fail; Graduate Students use 16:848:601, 1 credit pass/fail) to participate in the Boot Camp.

How:The Winter Session Boot Camp will be an intensive, immersive, hands-on learning experience spanning five full days (~8 hours/day). Participants will work in teams of three participants each under the direction of Boot Camp Instructors. All activities will be online.

What:Each team will work together online to draft a new RCSB Protein Data Bank (PDB) Molecule of the Month (MotM). Individual team topics will be selected from a list pre-determined by RCSB PDB leadership. To learn more about MotM, please visit

Deliverables:Each team will produce a polished draft MotM article on their selected topic, complete with literature references and illustrations.

Review Process:​ Draft MotM articles will be refereed by Boot Camp Instructors and experts.

Publication:Accepted MotM articles will be published on the website with each responsible team member listed as a co-author together with David Goodsell. Articles will be citable on resumes and curriculum vitae using a unique Digital Object Identifier (DOI).

About Molecule of the Month:The RCSB PDB MotM series edited and authored by ​ David S. Goodsell (RCSB PDB and The Scripps Research Institute) presents short accounts on selected molecules from the Protein Data Bank. Each article includes an introduction to the structure and function of the highlighted molecule, a discussion of the relevance of the molecule to human health and welfare, and suggestions for how visitors might view these structures and access further details. In 2019, more than 600,000 individuals worldwide accessed

Schedule of Events January 11th-15th 2021

Monday January 11th 2021

Morning Session:

  • Orientation: Introductions/Objectives/Communication (SKB, DSG, SD)
  • Lecture: Choosing and researching your topic (SKB)
  • Lecture: Design of the story and choice of structures for telling the story (DSG)
  • Break
  • Lecture: Basics of scientific writing (SKB) and visualization (DSG)
  • Lecture: Suggestions for how to work in a collaborative team (SKB)

Afternoon Session:

  • Teamwork: Meet your teammates and get to know your mentor
  • Teamwork: Discuss briefly and provide 1st/2nd/3rd choices of topic
  • Teamwork: Receive writing assignment for the week
  • Break
  • Teamwork: Make initial work assignments
  • Teamwork: Begin literature searching
  • Teamwork: Begin discussion of the story

Tuesday January 12th 2021

Morning Session:

  • Lecture: Tools for finding structures: PDB (SKB)
  • Lecture: Tools for visualizing structures: Mol* (SD)
  • Break
  • Student Progress: Short reports from each group
  • Lecture: Tools for visualizing structures: Illustrator and Jmol (DSG)

Afternoon Session:

  • Teamwork: Identify structures that will motivate your story
  • Teamwork: Continue literature searching
  • Teamwork: Continue discussion of the story

Wednesday January 13th 2021

Morning Session:

  • Lecture: Visualizing Proteins and Nucleic Acids in 3D (MV)
  • Break
  • Student Progress: Short reports from each group
  • Teamwork: Identify PDB structures that will motivate your story

Afternoon Session:

  • Teamwork: Begin designing images
  • Teamwork: Finalize discussion of the story and begin outlining your article
  • Teamwork: Finalize images

Thursday January 14th 2021

Morning Session:

  • Lecture: Delivered by visiting science writer (TBD)
  • Break
  • Student Progress: Short reports from each group
  • Teamwork: Finalize outline and make writing assignments

Afternoon Session:

  • Teamwork: Teamwork: Write individual sections
  • Teamwork: Exchange/edit sections

Friday January 15th 2021

Morning Session:

  • Teamwork: Consolidate edits to produce your final draft of the MotM article

Afternoon Session:

  • Student Presentations: Formal presentation and critique for each MotM article
  • Break
  • Debrief: Provide feedback to instructors and complete Boot Camp survey