Video Challenge 2018
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2018 RCSB PDB Video Challenge for High School Students

Mechanisms of Bacterial Resistance
to Beta-lactam Antibiotics


Participation Guide


Step 1

Assemble your team

The team can consist of 1-4 US high school students. Each member should submit signed Parent Permission form.

Find a team advisor

If you are participating as part of a class project, your teacher will be your Team Advisor. If you would like to participate individually, find a faculty member at your school who can advise you along the way.

Designate a team captain

One person on your team should be designated as a team captain. This person will coordinate the submission of your entry and fill in the registration form. The team captain should be listed as Team Member 1 on the registration form.

Step 2

Decide on the story

As described in The Challenge, your story has to contain a molecular and public health components.

Think, how you can connect the physiology and medicine, as well as the current statistics about the antibiotic resistance to the molecular processes that occur in bacteria. The information on the antibacterial resistance can be found in the Learn section. Streamline this information to tell a coherent story that explains the scientific concepts and connects the science to the public health. Your video should contain a general introduction to the action of antibiotics, and should focus on one aspect of one of the topics related to resistance, such as:

  • Beta-lactamases and resistance
  • Superbugs: New Delhi beta-lactamase and MRSA
  • How scientists are modifying beta-lactam antibiotics to fight resistance

Here is a simple example how this challenge can be tackled when focusing on the "Beta-lactamases and resistance" topic: Character A tells character B that his/her throat is hurting and he/she insists he/she needs antibiotics. Character B responds that it might be a viral infection and explains the molecular mechanism of beta-lactam antibiotics action. When character A states that it will not hurt to take antibiotics "just in case", character B explains the mechanism of beta-lactam mediated resistance, adding that given the current statistics it's too irresponsible to take antibiotics "just in case".

As you can see, this example communicates the medical issue of antibiotics misuse as well as the information of penicillin action and resistance. To make a person understand how beta-lactam antibiotics work, you don't need to list all groups in the beta-lactam class. The example of penicillin and the enzyme penicillinase (beta-lactamase) is sufficient to explain the resistance mechanism.

At this step, it's also important to think about your audience. In this challenge, your target audience are fellow high school students who have some knowledge of biology, but have not studied the topic in greater detail. Think what they can relate to, and what would keep them interested.

There are many approaches to storytelling. You can use a real-life event as a base for your video, you can come up with a narrative, as long as it can be told with the meaningful inclusion of the molecular component. Even the molecular story, from invention of penicillin to resistance to all beta-lactam antibiotics can create a great narrative.

Some inspiration could be found reading popular science magazines, newspapers articles, or exploring facts and statistics on antimicrobial resistance.

Your team should brainstorm many ideas at this stage and choose one that appeals to you the most. It's also important at this stage to think about the 2-minute time constraint and how much information can be communicated effectively.

Resources/downloads for this step:

Storytelling resources

Examples of popular science articles on antimicrobial resistance:

Some statistics and facts:


Step 3

Create a storyboard for your story

Now that you have general guidelines for your story, it's time to flush out the idea further and create a storyboard. A storyboard is a graphic organizer that shows sequentially the key visual and audial elements to convey how the story will unfold.

When detailing the story, be sure that the scientific component is catered to your audience. Be sure you speak to them in an understandable, level-appropriate way. The American Association for the Advancement of Science recommends to always keep in mind the 3Ms when communicating science: a good message should be Miniature, Memorable, and Meaningful.

The visual elements for your storyboard can be hand-drawn, but it's a good idea to plan how they will be framed in a shot. At this time, it's also a good idea to record at least a scratch version of narration/dialogs to make sure that the time allotted for them on the storyboard is sufficient.

Remember, you are teaching a complex subject to your audience. Your narration has to be at a pace that allows the audiences to listen and follow along. Also, remember to incorporate some breaks; after each key concept is introduced to your viewers, they will need some down time to process the information.

Your storyboard can be shared with other students to get feedback and make adjustments.

Resources/downloads for this step:

Articles on communicating science effectively:

Storyboard template

How to Create a Storyboard

Step 4

Create the visuals for your video

You have a complete freedom as far as the visual style of your story goes. You can create animations, footage, or any creative components you can think of. The scoring rubric allots points for originality and creativity, so be sure you don't miss these marks.

There are only 2 requirements:

  1. You should use an image/animation of a topic relevant protein structure from the PDB to illustrate the molecular component.

  2. For example, in a video based on the example story in Step 2, one should use the image of penicillin binding protein (e.g. PDB ID 5hl9) and another one of penicillinase (e.g. 1m40) to communicate the scientific content. The PDB IDs of example structures are listed in Tables 1, 2, and 3 in the Learn section.

    Each of the tables has a column “Visualization resources and tips” and provides links to 2 types of resources:

    1. Web-based 3D views using NGL. The NGL is the default 3D viewer on and it is accessible from each structure summary page, from the tab “3D View”. The user guide for this viewer is available.

    2. Premade Chimera files which can be downloaded and edited on your computer. To open the files, you will need to download and install UCSF Chimera (free for educational use).

      The tutorial Visualizing Structures with UCSF Chimera for Beginners offers introduction to the interface and functionality of Chimera, while the tutorial Protein Visualization with UCSF Chimera, Video Editing with Blender, and Sound Editing with Audacity helps you to learn how to customize the protein representation and to animate in Chimera.

    Alternately, you can use existing PDB-101 visual resources with proper attribution:

    • Molecule of the Month images
      Image title, PDB ID of the protein shown; Molecule of the Month image by David S. Goodsell and the RCSB PDB / CC-BY-4.0
    • 2016 and 2018 RCSB PDB Calendar images
      PDB ID of the protein shown; Image from the 2018 (or 2016) RCSB PDB Calendar
    • Images/animations from the Learn section
      Image caption; PDB ID of the protein shown (if applicable); Image/animation source:

  3. You should not use any copyrighted materials in your videos. Videos using copyrighted materials will be disqualified.

Resources/downloads for this step:

Animations from the Learn section: PBP Action | Antibiotic Action | Beta-lactamase Action

Step 5

Edit your video together

Use any video editor available to you to edit your video together. PDB-101 offers a basic tutorial for Blender Video Editor.

You will be uploading and sharing your video through YouTube, so the optimal composition size should be 1280px by 720px (HDTV 720).

The storytelling part should not be longer than 2 minutes. On top of that, you should include credits section including the following components:

  • The names of each team member and the name of the team advisor
  • The references for your research materials
  • The PDB IDs of the protein structures you are showing in your video and/or molecular images/videos attribution
  • All images/ sound credits (be sure to use Public Domain images, or images released under the Creative Commons license)
  • The PDB-101 branding slide

Step 6

Media Release Form (only if applicable)

If your video shows footage/image and/or voice of a person who is not a member of your team, have them, or if minor, their parents/guardians sign the Actor Release Form.

Step 7

Form Submission

Email the Parent Permission Form for each team member (and Actor Release Form if applicable) to any time after March 6 and before you submit your video.

Video Submission

Use the Submit link any time between March 6, 2018 and May 23, 2018 at 11:59 pm ET to register your video for the challenge.

If you have any questions, please email If you would like to receive monthly updates and educational news, please email

Good luck!