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Introduction to Protein Structure Collection

Introduction to Protein Structure Collection Model Demonstration Model

Lending Library Update

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the MSOE Model Lending Library has suspended operations. Before reopening, we need to identify safe ways of disinfecting library materials between uses. We hope to have decisions made by mid-July about which materials will be available for loan in the fall.


Teaching Points

This collection is designed to introduce students to the concepts of protein structure and biochemistry. Different activities guide students from the basic building blocks of proteins, amino acids, through the different levels of protein structure. Using the MolyMod models, students learn the different atomic components of an amino acid and how a peptide bond is formed through the loss of a water molecule. The Water Cup provides an overview of how water is essential for influencing protein folding. With this model collection, students can assemble an α-helix or anti-parallel β-sheet, compare the phi/psi angles of the two secondary structures, and explore the contribution of hydrogen bonding to the stability of secondary structure. Sidechains allow students to explore the different chemical properties of each group and how these properties help determine protein folding. Models of the α-helix and β-sheet, with and without side chains, allow comparison of the features of the two secondary structures. Two protein models display tertiary protein structure. The β-globin protein consists predominantly of α-helices while the green fluorescent protein (GFP) consists predominantly of a β-sheets. A flexible foam Toober (made with wire in the center and 48" long) allows students to create their own protein structures while exploring basic protein-folding principles. The Amino Acid Starter Kit© incorporates foam amino acid residues on a mini-toober, providing a more advanced protein folding activity. This collection also includes a protein modeling kit that enables students to fold a mini-toober to create a model of a zinc finger.

Models in this Collection

Water Cup
Water Cup CD
MolyMod models
15 Tacks and a 4 Foot Toober
Amino Acid Starter Kit
Amino Acid Starter Kit CD
α-helix/ β-sheet construction kit

α-helix backbone without sidechains
α-helix backbone with sidechains
β-sheet backbone without sidechains
β-sheet backbone with sidechains
β-globin protein
Green fluorescent protein (GFP)
Zinc finger folding activity


Requesting this Model

Loan Time Frame: 3 weeks


  • Use the calendar below to select a three week loan. Available times are shown in green. Select a date one week prior to the date you want the model to arrive. After selecting your time period, select checkout and complete the booking details.
  • This loan includes both delivery and return shipping time. Please make sure to plan time (approximately one week) for us to deliver the model to you. You can expect the model to arrive approximately one week following the first day of the requested loan period.


  • Use the calendar below to select a three week loan. Available times are shown in green. Select the date you want to pick up the model. After selecting your time period, select checkout and complete the booking details.

Requesting Other Models

You may schedule one copy of a model for three weeks. Due to limited resources, we are unable to send multiple copies or additional materials.

If you would like to request a loan of a different model for the same time frame you may add this to your cart. Up to three different types of models may be checked out at one time. You will need to fill out a separate request for model loans with a different time frame.


Please contact us at with any questions about the lending process or the availability of models.

Contact Margaret Franzen at or (414) 277-2824 with questions about the models, teaching resources or educational content.



Model Documentation and Instructions

Teaching Points and Inventory
Identifying Components of the Suitcase
Quick Reference Card
Amino Acids are the Building Blocks of Proteins
Proteins Fold Aqueous Environment
Linear Amino Acid Sequence Folds into Secondary Structures
The Structure of Amino Acid Backbones in an α-Helix and a β-Sheet
Building Secondary Structures
Amino Acid Sidechains have Different Chemical Characteristics
Modeling Helix A of β-Globin
Modeling a β-Sheet of Green Fluorescent Protein
Protein Tertiary and Quaternary Structure
Zinc Finger Folding Activity
15 Tacks and a 4 Foot Toober Protein Folding Activity
Toober Variations

Returning Models

Models must be returned on or before the due date.

Borrowers are responsible for return shipping costs. We recommend using FedEx or UPS with "two-day ground" transportation. Please make sure to get a tracking number for the shipment.

Please take care when returning models. Any damage incurred in return shipping due to improper packing will be charged to the borrower.

Ship models to:
Milwaukee School of Engineering
1000 N. Market Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202-3113
   Available    Your Booking    Unavailable/Padding