Explore the aesthetic beauty of life at the smallest of scales

The Protein Data Bank in Europe, The Art Society CANTAB and The Art Society GRANTA are working with local school art departments to create artworks inspired by the molecules of life. PDBe maintains a free, worldwide database containing 150,000 3D shapes of biological molecules important for scientific and medical research. The molecules are too small to see even with a normal microscope, and yet can form incredibly complex structures. In this project, PDBe scientists help students explore the PDB database and different methods of depicting these molecules. The students, with support of their teachers, then use these structures as inspiration for the creation of artworks.



Exhibition: Artworks inspired by the Molecules of Life

PDB Art exhibition 2019 image collage



Students learning and resulting artworks


Resources for Students and Teachers

  • Explore the Pinterest account designed in particular for use in the classroom, to inspire and educate
  • Here you can download a PDF of an introductory worksheet for use in the classroom
  • Here you can download a PDF of an activity to use in conjunction with the PDB Art Pinterest account
  • Here you can download a PDF of a virus net to print and fold up
  • Here you can download a PDF of our protein structure colouring book for you to print out and colour in - or give to a future scientist!

To find out more drop us an email at pdb-art@ebi.ac.uk

Schools currently engaged in the project:

The Perse School

The Leys

Impington Village College

Stephen Perse Foundation

Leventhorpe School

Saffron Walden County High School

Thomas Gainsborough School