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.


PDB Art Exhibition 2021 (Virtual):

This year, due to circumstances with COVID-19, our exhibition has gone virtual!

You can explore the virtual exhibition below, or by visiting the online gallery at Artsteps.




Virtual 2021 PDB Art Exhibition Opening:

We hosted a virtual opening of the 2021 PDB Art Exhibition on Friday 1st October at 5pm (BST). The event included a virtual tour of the exhibition, talks from Prof. Jane Shelby Richardson (Duke University) and Wellcome Collection curator Shamita Sharmacharja, plus some words from students, teachers and scientists involved in this year's project.

We have made the recording of the event available on our YouTube channel and it is available to watch below.



Students learning and resulting artworks


Resources for Students and Teachers

Explore all the PDB Art resources

  • 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, Cambridge, UK

The Leys, Cambridge, UK

Impington Village College, Cambridge, UK

Stephen Perse Foundation, Cambridge, UK

Leventhorpe School, Sawbridgeworth, UK

Saffron Walden County High School, Saffron Walden, UK

Thomas Gainsborough School, Sudbury, UK

Viewbank College, Melbourne, Australia