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Educational Resources

Posters and Flyers

Molecular Machinery: A Tour of the Protein Data Bank (2014)

The enormous range of molecular shapes and sizes in the PDB archive is illustrated using 96 structures, depicted relative to the cellular membrane.

Download: Poster (34 x 22", 23MB PDF) | Flyer (8 1/2 x 11", 7MB PDF)

The Structures of the Citric Acid Cycle

Also known as the Krebs cycle or the tricarboxylic acid cycle, the citric acid cycle is at the center of cellular metabolism. Learn about the structures involved in this metabolic pathway.

Download: Flyer (8 1/2 x 11", PDF)

What is a Protein?

Learn about protein structure and function with this overview.

Download: Flyer (8 1/2 x 11", PDF)

This flyer is accompanied by a video.

Virus Structures

Learn about polyhedral, helical, complex, and enveloped viruses with examples drawn at approximately 900,000x magnification. Created in collaboration with EMDataBank.

See the Activities tab for virus-related exercises.

Download: Flyer (8 1/2 x 11", PDF)

The Structural Biology of HIV

A painting of the HIV virus surrounded by the atomic structures from the PDB.

Download: Poster (18 x 24", High Resolution PDF | Low Resolution PDF), Flash Animation (Link)

How Do Drugs Work?

PDB structures are used to discuss antibiotics and antivirals, chemotherapy, drug metabolism, drugs of signaling proteins, and lifestyle drugs.

Download: Poster (26 x 38", High Resolution PDF | Low Resolution PDF), Flyer (8 1/2 x 11", PDF)

Molecular Machinery: A Tour of the Protein Data Bank (2002)

In this original tour of the archive, 80 PDB entries are illustrated at a scale of three million to one. An updated version (2014) is also available.

Download: Poster (36 x 24", High Resolution PDF | Low Resolution PDF), Quick Reference Guide (8 1/2 x 11", PDF)

The Ribosome

This flyer commemorates the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for studies of the structure and function of the ribosome.

Download: Flyer (8 1/2 x 11", PDF)

Toll-like Receptors

In honor of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Download: Flyer (8 1/2 x 11", PDF)

G-Protein Coupled Receptors

In honor of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Download: Flyer (8 1/2 x 11", PDF)

Exhibit Materials

Art of Science

This traveling art exhibit includes pictures available from the RCSB PDB website and Molecule of the Month features. Email info@rcsb.org for more information.

PDB Structures on Exhibit at the Birch Aquarium

An interactive kiosk at the The Sea of Genes exhibit at the Birch Aquarium (La Jolla, CA) displayed information about specific proteins found in marine organisms – and in the PDB.

Download: Flyer (PDF), Flash Animation (Link)


Calendars highlight structures with detailed images and text.

Download: 2015 Molecule of the Month (PDF), wwPDB for IYCr, PSI SBKB 2012 (PDF), PSI SBKB 2010 (PDF), RCSB PDB 2008 (PDF)

3D Paper Models


Download this PDF to build one complete turn of a DNA double helix, with the major and minor grooves labeled. Choose from a schematic model with space to fill in the names of the bases and a detailed model that shows all the atoms in each nucleotide.

Demonstration: How to fold the DNA model

Related Materials:

Dengue Virus

To create a 3D model of the dengue virus, print out this PDF, cut out the protein structure, and fold on the solid lines. Tape or glue the flaps into place to form an icosahedron.The RNA genome can be modeled using a piece of string approximately 5.4 meters long and placed inside of the structure.

Related Materials:

Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP)

Download this PDF to build a paper model of GFP's beta barrel with a chromophore in the core.

Related Materials:

HIV Capsid

Download this PDF to build an HIV capsid at 1,000,000x magnification.

Demonstration: How to Build a Paper Model of the HIV Capsid

Related Materials:


Download this PDF to build a paper model of the primary, secondary, and beginnings of the tertiary structure of tRNA. Visit the activity page to learn more.

Demonstration: How to Build a Paper Model of tRNA

Related Materials:


Molecule of the Month Animations

Click on the animation to see their respective Molecule of the Month articles

Interactive Tour of PDB's Molecular Machinery

Molecular Machinery poster in 3D

Launch an interactive view of PDB's molecular machines. Select a structure, access the entry in 3D using the tool Protein Viewer (PV; requires WebGL enabled), read a brief summary of the molecule's biological role, and access the corresponding PDB entry and Molecule of the Month column.

Ebola Virus Proteins

Tour the molecular anatomy of the Ebola virus with the RCSB PDB. Understanding of the shape and structure of the proteins that make up Ebola is a key component in the fight against the virus.

What is a Protein?

Learn about the 3D shape and function of macromolecules. This video is accompanied by a PDF

The Structural Biology of HIV

Explore the proteins in the HIV virus with this interactive Flash animation.

Molecular Animation Q&A

An interview with the Molecular Animators Gaël McGill, Ph.D. and Graham Johnson. Learn how they import PDB structures to create stunning molecular graphics.

Molecules in Motion Kiosk Viewer

The Molecules in Motion Kiosk Viewer is a full-screen animation program that displays structures from different angles and perspectives, and focuses on chemical components within the structure (PDF flyer).

The Kiosk program runs on Mac, Windows and some versions of Linux (i.e. CentOS 5) only, and requires the latest version of Java. The program automatically downloads coordinate files into a folder, which lets users run Kiosk on an offline computer. To customize the list of structures displayed in Kiosk, right click on the Kiosk Viewer link and save the file with a new name (with the .jnlp extension), for example myFavorites.jnlp. Edit the PDB IDs listed in the file and save it. Double click to launch Kiosk Viewer; press the Esc key to exit Kiosk Viewer.

Launch Kiosk by providing a comma separated list of PDB ids: (Java required)

By default Kiosk will display biological assemblies (if available). Uncheck here to view asymmetric units only.

Activities and Lessons

3D Paper Models

Download and print these PDFs to fold 3D paper models of different molecules, from DNA to viruses.

Exploring the Structure of Insulin

Learn about the 3D structure of insulin and how its defined, yet flexible, structure enables its function.

Related Materials: Molecule of the Month on Insulin.

Exploring the Structure of tRNA

Learn about the 3D structure of tRNA, secondary and beginnings of the tertiary.

Related Materials: Molecule of the Month on tRNA.

Virus Structure Lecture, Lesson Plans, and Activities

A lecture (PPT) and lesson plans describing Virus Shape and Structure (PDF) and the Life Cycle of the Dengue Virus (PDF) are available for middle and high school classrooms.  These resources include templates to make 3D paper models of disease-causing viruses and review questions.

Exploring Biomolecular Structure

An article about why atomic structure of molecules are useful along with an overview for using the RCSB PDB from the Scitable resource for undergraduate students and educators. For a more detailed guide to PDB data, see Understanding PDB Data.

Bioinformatics of Green Fluorescent Protein

Bioinformatics of Green Fluorescent Protein (PDF) is a tutorial guide to exploring the relationship between gene sequence, protein structure, and biological function in the context of the green fluorescent protein. With this tutorial you will find protein structures using search tools on the RCSB PDB website; use molecular visualization tools to explore the GFP structure and function; and find the GFP gene and view important mutations (Updated January 2015).

Related Materials: Molecule of the Month on GFP, Paper Model and Activity Page.

Education Corner

Other activities and lessons are described in past editions of the RCSB PDB's Education Corner.


RCSB PDB Poster Prize

The RCSB PDB awards a poster prize for the best student poster presentation at a number of different meetings throughout the year.

USA Science & Engineering Festival

At the USA Science & Engineering Festival Expo (April 26-27, 2014 in Washington, DC), more than 750 STEM organizations will present hands-on, fun science activities to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Rutgers Day

A full day of free performances, lectures, exhibits, games, children's activities, hands-on learning and athletic competitions as the state university throws wide its doors to New Jersey residents.

San Diego Science Festival

Each year in March, the San Diego Science Festival cascades over San Diego County in a weeklong celebration of science and engineering that invigorates over 75,000 students, parents, scientists, educators and other community members.

New Jersey Science Olympiad

The Protein Modeling Event at the NJ Regional and State Science Olympiads is sponsored by the RCSB PDB. The website offers a variety of materials to help teams build 3D models of proteins.