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

Mechanisms of Bacterial Resistance
to Beta-lactam Antibiotics



Antibiotics are prescribed for treatment of bacterial infections, and work by inhibiting proteins involved in the bacterial life cycle. Beta-lactam antibiotics are a class of broad-spectrum antibiotics that kill the bacteria by attacking the enzymes that build the bacterial cell wall. Beta-lactam antibiotics are essential for public health due to their low cost, limited side effects, high effectiveness, and ease of delivery.

Due to misuse and overuse of antibiotics, bacteria have developed resistance mechanisms that can inactivate all beta-lactam antibiotics, allowing resistant bacteria to thrive and spread from organism to organism, causing one of the greatest public health threats in recent decades. (1)

In many cases, the misuse and overuse of antibiotics is caused by the lack of knowledge how antibiotics work and how bacteria become resistant. Your role is to make a video that helps the viewers understand the action of antibiotics on the molecular level and how bacteria become resistant so that they can make informed decisions regarding their own antibiotics usage.

2018 Challenge

In this challenge, we ask you to tell a story that communicates 2 things:

  1. Using relevant 3D protein structures, teach the viewers about the molecular changes that occur in bacteria that help them to become resistant to beta-lactam antibiotics. Videos should include a general introduction to the action of antibiotics, and describe an 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
  2. Make your viewer aware of the dangerously high level of antibiotic resistance caused by misuse and overuse of antibiotics. Explain to them how they might be affected by it, and what they can do prevent it.

Use the Learn section to learn about the topic, and access relevant 3D structures and additional resources. Use the Participate section for instructions on how to create your video.

A PDF flyer describing this challenge is available for download and distribution.

Video Requirements

A qualifying entry should:

  • Have a descriptive title
  • Tell a coherent story that incorporates the molecular and public health components
  • Include a picture or animation of a protein from the Protein Data Bank (PDB) archive that is related to the topic. Example structures with visualization resources are included in the Learn section in Table 1, Table 2, and Table 3.
  • The story part of the video should not exceed 2 minutes
  • Narration must be recorded and presented at natural speed, not artificially sped up
  • The end credits can run in addition to the 2 minutes allotted for the story telling part. They should include the references to all research materials, citations of the PDB structures shown, and image and sound credits.
  • The video should end with the PDB-101 branding slide

The target audience

  • Imagine you are teaching the content to another high school student, who has overall knowledge of biology similar to you, but they have not studied the antibiotic resistance in great depth.


All students enrolled in any high school in the United States and equivalent level home-schooled students are eligible to participate in groups comprising from 1 to 4 students. Each participant has to submit the Permission Form in order to be eligible to win the challenge.

Important Dates

Submission Opens March 6, 2018
Submission Closes May 23, 2018 at 11:59 pm ET
Judging May 31 - June 6, 2018
Results Award winners will be announced at and on June 12, 2018.


All qualifying entries will be eligible to win one or more of the following:

Judge's Award

A panel of expert judges will review the videos. All qualified entries will be judged on the following criteria (see the detailed description of each criterion):

  • Story Telling 20%
  • Quality of Science Communication 30%
  • Quality of Public Health Message 10%
  • Originality and Creativity 20%
  • Quality of Production 10%
  • Proper Accreditation 10%

The top three entries will be recognized on,, and in an upcoming RCSB PDB Newsletter.

Viewer's Choice Award

As voted by the viewers.


  1. O'Neill J. Antimicrobial resistance: tackling a crisis for the health and wealth of nations. 2014. Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, London, United Kingdom