Logo PSB The Partnership for Structural Biology

Brief history of the PSB

The year 2022 marked the 20th Anniversary of the Partnership for Structural Biology (PSB) that has grown from a long history of collaboration between research institutes located on the EPN campus in Grenoble. In early 1977, the ILL and EMBL concluded an agreement on scientific cooperation in the field of biological research, which led to the construction of a joint building in support of biological work at ILL. In 1992, the EMBL and the ESRF signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) concerning the optimisation and use of the ESRF for molecular biological research through beamline design and construction.

In the same spirit, the PSB was established on 15 November 2002 by a MoU involving four partners, the EMBL, ESRF, ILL and the IBS. The aim of this partnership was to benefit from each other’s expertise and resources, and to establish a unique multi-disciplinary environment for integrated structural biology, creating a European Centre of Excellence for the study of challenging problems notably in human health.

The first Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) review took place in January 2006 and coincided with the inauguration of the Carl-Ivar Bränden building (CIBB) which houses research teams from all PSB Partners and several technical platforms. In October 2013, the IBS moved onto the EPN campus into a larger purpose-designed building that has allowed the institute to host new teams, and to further enhance the synergy of the PSB.

Since its creation, the PSB has dedicated large efforts and manpower to the development of its platforms in order to provide the local and external scientific community with state of the art tools and cutting edge technologies. Since the outset, PSB platforms have grown impressively both in number and complexity, and today the PSB is equipped with a unique palette of technological platforms, including the Titan Krios cryo-electron microscope at ESRF inaugurated in 2017, which run as a beamline (CM01), and which operation is carried out by a team comprising members of the different Partner institutes, providing an excellent example of a PSB collaboration benefitting a wide range of international users. CM02, a French CRG cryo-electron microscope will also start operation from August 2024.

In view of the success of the PSB over the years, the Partners have regularly renewed their engagement in the Partnership by renewing their Collaboration Agreement for five-year periods, and the current extension is ongoing until 31 December 2025.

31 May 2023 - PSB 20th Anniversary celebration
31 May 2023 - PSB 20th Anniversary celebration
15 November 2002 – Signing ceremony of the MoU to establish the PSB. From left to right: Colin Carlile (ILL), William G. Sterling (ESRF), Fotis C. Kafatos (EMBL), André Syrota (CEA), Bernard Pau (CNRS), and Yannick Vallée (UJF)
15 November 2002 – Signing ceremony of the MoU to establish the PSB. From left to right: Colin Carlile (ILL), William G. Sterling (ESRF), Fotis C. Kafatos (EMBL), André Syrota (CEA), Bernard Pau (CNRS), and Yannick Vallée (UJF)
11 December 2003 – First PSB Science Day at the Chateau de Sassenage
11 December 2003 – First PSB Science Day at the Chateau de Sassenage
8 June 2004 – Ground breaking for the CIBB
8 June 2004 – Ground breaking for the CIBB
13 January 2006 – CIBB Inauguration
13 January 2006 – CIBB Inauguration
9 November 2017 - Inauguration of CM01
9 November 2017 - Inauguration of CM01