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News from CCP4: March 2001

Peter Briggs, Martyn Winn, Sue Bailey, Alun Ashton, David Brown, Charles Ballard
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News Contents:

  1. Staff changes
  2. Workshops and Conferences
  3. New Release 4.1
  4. Other news

1. Staff changes

In some ways it is the end of an era for CCP4, with the announcement of two departures from the core CCP4 team based here at Daresbury.

Colin Nave writes: ``Those who attended the CCP4 study weekend will remember that Sue Bailey will be taking up a new job at Berkeley, California in April. Sue's drive and organisational abilities have been a key factor in the growth of the CCP4 project over the past 8 years. At the same time she has managed a succesful research program at Daresbury, investigating the structure of DMSO reductase and other proteins. I have found it a pleasure working with her during her time at Daresbury. I am sure the CCP4 community will join me in wishing Sue and her family all the best in California.'' The DL staff would like to thank Sue for her invaluable contributions to the project and wish her all the best for the future.

Also David Brown, the CCP4 administrative assistant, announced his intention to retire this coming summer. David has been with CCP4 for two years now and during that time has made valuable contributions to the overall running of the project - particularly in dealings with our commercial customers and also in the organisation of the annual Study Weekends. We are sorry to see him go but wish him a relaxing and enjoyable retirement.

2. Workshops and Conferences

Since the last CCP4 newsletter almost a year ago there has been a large number of CCP4-related activities.

Last July Alun Ashton, Peter Briggs and Harry Powell made a trip to the 50th Anniversary ACA Meeting in St. Pauls, Minnesota, where we had a stand in the exhibition, demonstrating CCP4 and MOSFLM, and were treated to some American hospitality! We had a great time meeting American users of the software, many of whom were only known to us previously as names on the bulletin board.

From left to right: Katherine McAuley, Alun Ashton, Peter Briggs and Harry Powell at the ACA 2000

So we would like to thank everyone who came to visit the stand. We would also like to thank Katherine McAuley for helping out with demonstrations of the software, and to the ACA Council, who very kindly offered us the complementary exhibition booth.

If you missed us then we will be back at the ACA again this summer, this time in Los Angeles - see the web page at

Also last summer Martyn Winn, Charles Ballard and Harry Powell represented CCP4 at the ECM 19 meeting in Nancy last August (thanks to those who came to look at our posters). Martyn also presented recent developments in REFMAC at the Gordon Conference on Diffraction Methods in Molecular Biology held last July.

More recently, the CCP4 Study Weekend 2001 took place in York in January, on the topic of "Molecular Replacement and its relatives". CCP4 would like to thank especially the scientific organisers - Jim Naismith (St-Andrews) and Kevin Cowtan (York) - and of course all the speakers. Alun Ashton, David Brown and Daresbury staff (Pat Broadhurst, Alison Mutch and Sue Waller) also played a vital role in making sure that things ran smoothly on the ground. The proceedings from the study weekend will be published later this year in Acta Cryst. D, but in the mean time Maria Turkenburg has compiled a useful set of associated links at

This year the Study Weekend was flanked by a number of additional activities. The SRS PX Specialist User Group Meeting took place on the Thursday afternoon prior to the start of the workshop (see the report by Pierre Rizkallah), while on either side of the Study Weekend there was the CCP4/MAX-INF Refinement Workshop also in York (see Eleanor Dodson's report for more details).

Finally on the Friday morning a short "Introduction to CCP4" session was held just before the start of the official Study Week programme. CCP4 staff and friends (Martyn Winn, Alun Ashton, Maria Turkenburg, Peter Briggs, and Harry Powell) presented material aimed at both new and existing users of the suite. We would like to thank those who attended (the hall looked quite full from the stage!) and hope that you found it useful.

CCP4 also participated in the PX Data Collection Workshop held at Daresbury Laboratory at the start of February. Twenty students from labs around the UK attended the week-long event, which covered various aspects of protein crystallography and featured a number of hands-on practical sessions. (We would like to say particular thanks to Lisa Wright for bravely using the CCP4 graphical interface for her Molecular Replacement session!). We have two reports on the workshop in this newsletter, one by organiser Liz Duke and the other by workshop student Jasveen Chugh.

Bringing us more-or-less up-to-date, Alun Ashton attended the recent ESRF High Throughput Structural Biology satellite meeting in Grenoble, presenting a poster on the developments within CCP4 in anticipation of high-throughput structure determination.

CCP4 presence of some description is already planned at a number of forthcoming meetings, including: BCA Spring Meeting in Reading (April), the ECM, Krackaw (August; see, BCA Summer School in St. Andrews (September). Details of relevant courses and events can as always be found on the CCP4 "Courses" page at

3. New Release 4.1

The end of January saw the release of version 4.1 of the CCP4 suite, followed shortly after by the patch release 4.1.1. As always the patch release is intended only to fix minor bugs in the release, and if you are already using 4.1 without any problems then we don't recommend you bothering to upgrade.

The major changes from 4.0 to 4.1 are:

The release also includes the following new programs:

Updates to the graphical user interface CCP4i:

Other highlights in 4.1 include:

Finally, we are once again making precompiled binaries of CCP4 4.1.1 available for a limited number of platforms (essentially, only those we have easy access to!): IRIX (o32- and n32-bit versions, prepared on IRIX6.5 R10k) and alpha (prepared on Digital UNIX V4.0F). As before, these must be downloaded in addition (not instead of) the normal CCP4 distribution, and you should read the enclosed BINARY.readme file.

As always, details of all the changes can be found in the CHANGES file in the top-level directory ($CCP4), and in $CCP4/html/CHANGESinV4_1.html. We also urge people to check the CCP4 Problems Pages before reporting any bugs (with fixes, if possible!) to

On a personal note I would like to thank the Daresbury staff for their hard work in making the new release. I would also like to thank the York programmers for their help, and all those at various sites who expended time and effort to test the various beta releases and send me bug reports and fixes - thank you!

4. Other News

Newsletters: This will be my final newsletter as editor, as of issue 40 the mantle passes to Charles Ballard. Please e-mail Charles at if you wish to contribute articles to the next newsletter.

CCP4i: Following the release of CCP4 4.1, maintenance and development of CCP4i (the CCP4 graphical user interface) has passed to the Daresbury staff, allowing Liz to concentrate more on the CCP4 Molecular Graphics project (see her article in this newsletter for more details).
CCP4 are still committed to maintaining and developing the interface; please visit the new CCP4i home page at for further information.

New location at DL: We have finally made our move across the Daresbury site to our new palatial offices above the Structural Biology Lab (SBL), so please come and visit us if you are on site. PX users are also welcome to ask for demonstrations of CCP4i or other CCP4 software while they are at the Lab.

Peter Briggs, March 2001

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