Deutsch Intern
Rudolf Virchow Center for Integrative and Translational Bioimaging

Thorn Group

About the Thorn Group

Molecular structures form the basis of modern biochemistry. They allow us, for example, to understand heredity (DNA double helix structure) or to develop new drugs (Zika virus structure). However, these structures cannot be measured directly, but the image data must be interpreted using structural models. The better these models and the data fit to each other, the more new, challenging structures can be solved and used to answer important biological questions. This is the driving force behind our work.

Crystallography: Better models and better data

In the Thorn lab, we research new methods for the determination of molecular structures by X-ray crystallography and Cryo-electron microscopy. We imprve models and modelling software; we collaborate with particle accelerators to improve the measurement and processing of diffraction data; and we use neural networks to better interprete electron micrscopic images.

Dr. Thorn's group is embedded in the Schindelin research lab.

17 Jun 2020

We are looking for a PhD student candidate for a challenging and rewarding project improving how we model X-ray structures in general. Deadline 26 Jul 2020: PhD job offer (pdf download).

20 Apr 2020

Coronavirus: finding the weak spot

Dr. Andrea Thorn, a structural biologist from Würzburg, is leading an international coronavirus research network. The results of her work are important for developing vaccines and drugs. more

19 Dec 2019

We are looking for a PhD student and Postdoc candidate for a challenging and rewarding project improving how we model X-ray structures in general. Deadline 31 Jan 2020: PhD job offer (pdf-download) & Postdoc job offer (pdf-download)

18 - 23 Aug 2019

At the European Crystallographic Meeting in Vienna, we will present our new software Haruspex for secondary structure prediction in Cryo-EM. AUSPEX will be demonstrated in the ECM Software Fayre and we will give an additional talk on"It’s just like planning a dinner...” - Women in Crystallographic Computing' and co-organize the European Crystallographic Computing Forum (ECM Satellite Meeting).


24 July 2019

We are looking for a post-doctoral researcher! Uncover pitfalls in the measurement of modern XFEL, neutron and conventional X-ray data. Develop new diagnostics using statistical tools and machine learning. Deadline 8 Sep 2019 More details

9 July 2019

AUSPEX poster shown at the Royal Society: AUSPEX was selected as one of the affiliated research projects to be presented at the 40th anniversary of the English software initiative CCP4.

8 July 2019

The German Federal Ministry for Research and Education (BMBF) agreed to fund the project „New Diagnostics for Macromolecular Structure Determination at Large Facilities: AUSPEX”. Press release

Mostosi, P., Schindelin, H., Kollmannsberger, P., Thorn*, A. (2019) Automated interpretation of Cryo-EM density maps with convolutional neural networks. www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/644476v1 DOI: 10.1101/644476 [preprint]

Thorn, A., Parkhurst, J.M., Emsley, P., Nicholls, R., Evans, G., Vollmar, M., Murshudov, G.N. (2017) AUSPEX: a graphical tool for X-ray diffraction data analysis, Acta Cryst D73 729-737.

Parkhurst, J.M., Thorn, A., Vollmar, M., Winter, G., Waterman, D.G., Fuentes-Montero, L., Gildea, R.J., Murshudov G.N., Evans, G. (2017) Background modelling of diffraction data in the presence of ice-rings, IUCrJ 4, 626-638.

Thorn, A. (2017) Experimental Phasing: Substructure Solution and Density Modification as Implemented in SHELX, in Protein Crystallography, Methods in Molecular Biology (series), 357-376 co-editors A. Wlodawer, Z. Dauter, and M. Jaskolski, Springer. [invited book chapter]

Knott, G.J, Panjikar, S., Thorn, A., Fox, A.H., Conte, M.R., Lee, M., Bond, C.S. (2016) A crystallographic study of human NONO (p54nrb): Overcoming pathological problems with purification, data collection and non-crystallographic symmetry, Acta Cryst. D72, 761-769

Deigan Warner, K.D., Chen, M.C., Song, W., Strack R.L., Thorn, A., Jaffrey S.R., Ferré-D’Amaré, A.R. (2014) Structural basis for activity of highly efficient RNA mimics of green fluorescent protein , Nature Structural & Molecular Biology 21, 658–663

Thorn, A., Sheldrick G.M. (2013) Extending Molecular Replacement Solutions with SHELXE , Acta Cryst. D. 69, 2251-2256

Cooper, R.I., Thorn, A., Watkin D.J. (2012) CRYSTALS enhancements: asymmetric restraints, J. Appl. Cryst. 45, 1057-1060

Thorn, A., Steinfeld, R., Ziegenbein, M., Grapp, M., Hsiao, H.H., Urlaub, H., Sheldrick, G.M., Gärtner, J., Krätzner, R. (2012) Structure and activity of the only human RNase T2, Nucleic Acids Res. 40, 8733-8742

Thorn, A., Dittrich, B., Sheldrick, G.M. (2012) Enhanced rigid-bond restraints, Acta Cryst. A68, 448-451

Thorn, A., Sheldrick, G.M. (2011) ANODE: ANOmalous and heavy-atom DEnsity calculation, J. Appl. Cryst. 44, 1285-1287

Tavcar, G., Sen, S.S., Azhakar, R., Thorn, A., Roesky, H.W. (2010) Facile syntheses of silylene nickel carbonyl complexes from Lewis base stabilized chlorosilylenes Inorg Chem. 49, 10199-10202

Vouffo, B., Dongo, E., Facey, P., Thorn, A., Sheldrick, G. M., Maier, A., Fiebig, H.H., Laatsch, H. (2010) Antiarol cinnamate and Africanoside, a cinnamoyl triterpene and a hydroperoxy-cardenolide from the stem bark of Antiaris africana, Planta Med. 76, 1717-1723

Fischer, A., Stern, D., Thorn, A., Abraham, S., Stalke, D., Klingebiel, U. (2010) From the Lithium-2-anilide-2-fluoro-1,3-diaza-2-sila-cyclopentene-GaCl3 Adduct to 1,4,6-Triaza-5-gallium-7-sila-cyclo-3-heptene - Experimental and Quantum-chemical Results Z. Anorg. Allg. Chem. 636 (2010), 1527-1532

Vollmar, D., Thorn, A., Schuberth, I., Grond, S. (2009) A comprehensive view on 4-methyl-2-quinazolinamine, a new microbial alkaloid from Streptomyces of TCM plant origin, J. Antibiot. 62, 439-444

Thorn, A., Egerer-Sieber, C., Jäger, C.M., Herl, V., Müller-Uri, F., Kreis, W., Muller Y.A. (2008) The crystal structure of 5β-Progesterone Reductase from Digitalis Lanata defines of a novel subfamily of short-chain dehydrogenases/reductases, J. Biol. Chem. 283, 17260-17269

Tampier, S., Müller, R., Thorn, A., Hübner, E., Burzlaff, N. (2008) Synthesis, Structure and Reactivity of Ruthenium Carboxylato and 2-Oxocarboxylato Complexes bearing the Bis(3,5-dimethylpyrazol-1-yl)acetato Ligand, Inorg Chem. 47 , 9624-9641


Dr. Yunyun Gao

Rudolf-Virchow-Zentrum - Center for Integrative and Translational Bioimaging
Universität Würzburg
Josef-Schneider-Str. 2
97080 Würzburg
Building: Haus D15

Dr. Matthew Reeves

Rudolf-Virchow-Zentrum - Center for Integrative and Translational Bioimaging
Universität Würzburg
Josef-Schneider-Straße 2
97080 Würzburg
Building: Haus D15

Dr. Andrea Thorn

Rudolf-Virchow-Zentrum - Center for Integrative and Translational Bioimaging
Universität Würzburg
Josef-Schneider-Str. 2
97080 Würzburg
Building: Haus D15
Room: 00.042

Current position

Junior group leader in the lab of Prof. Hermann Schindelin at the Rudolf Virchow Center of  University of Würzburg (since 2019)

Research Experience


Postdoctoral researcher in the research group of Prof. Hermann Schindelin, University of Würzburg, Germany


Postdoctoral researcher, University of Hamburg, Germany


Senior Research Scientist, Diamond Lightsource, Oxford, UK


Investigator Scientist, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK


Post-doctoral research associate, University of Cambridge, UK


Postdoctoral researcher, Georg-August University Goettingen, Germany



Dr. rer. nat, Georg-August University Goettingen, Germany (supervisor: Prof. George M. Sheldrick)

Fellowships, Awards and External Funding

  • BMBF „Erforschung der Materie an Großgeräten“ (2019)
  • DFG Sachbeihilfe (2019)
  • Rising Star Award, Asian Crystallographic Association (2013)
  • Marie-Curie IEF Fellowship (2013)

Selected activities

  • Vice president Computing Interest Group of the European Crystallographic Association (since 2018)
  • Member  of the IUCr Computing Commission (since 2017)
  • Scientific program director for the European Crystallographic Computing Forum 2018, Spain
  • Scientific program director for the European Computing School in Germany 2016 and in Croatia 2015
  • Council Member of the British Crystallographic Association (2013-2016)
  • Secretary Computing Interest Group of the European Crystallographic Association (2013-2018)

Member - Graduate School of Life Sciences

Dr. Thorn is lecturing on a number of international courses each year:

  • SeaCoast workshop (South East Asia) (January)
  • RapiData at Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource, US (April)
  • Cold Spring Harbor Course "Diffraction Methods", US (October)
  • Diamond-CCP4 Data Collection and Structure Solution Workshop in Oxfordshire, UK (December)
  • International CCP4 courses (varying dates and places)