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 life’s building blocks. PDBe maintains a worldwide free database containing many thousands of 3D shapes of biological molecules important for health research. The molecules are too small to see even with a normal microscope, and are very complex. In this project, PDBe scientists help students explore the database (PDBe.org) and ways of depicting molecules, using structure as inspiration for the artworks.


Coming up: 

Exhibition: Artworks inspired by Life's Building Blocks: On Campus

Artwork inspired by life's building blocksConnections artwork



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