Midlands Regional Cryo-Electron Microscope Facility

Midlands Regional Cryo-Electron Microscope Facility

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The Cryo-EM facility brings cutting-edge research technologies to the Midlands and represents another successful collaboration within the Midlands Innovation group. The University of Leicester led the successful bid, in partnership with the Universities of Warwick, Nottingham and Birmingham, to establish the facility. The total investment in the facility exceeded £6M with £3.7M from the Medical Research Council. The four partner Universities provided the remaining funds with a major contribution from the University of Leicester (£1.8M).

The revolution in Cryo-Electron Microscopy has been driven by developments in the microscopes themselves, the camera systems, and in the computational methods used to process the images. This has allowed the latest generation of Cryo-EMs, including the Midlands Regional Facility, to generate 3 dimensional structures of bio-molecules in exquisite detail. This enables scientists to understand the mechanisms through which molecular machines in our cells perform the key functions of life. This can lead to understanding disease processes and how best to address them.

Professor John Schwabe, Director of the Leicester Institute of Structural and Chemical Biology, led the bid to the MRC/Wellcome Trust to establish this new facility. He said: “There is currently a revolution in using cryo-EM for research in structural biology. This facility will keep the Leicester Institute of Structural and Chemical Biology at the forefront of the field. This regional facility will establish a Midlands Cryo-EM ‘ecosystem’ that will enable the sharing of equipment and expertise and will help to strengthen existing and establish new scientific collaborations across the region”.

The Leicester facility is supported by an ecosystem of feeder microscopes at Birmingham, Nottingham, Warwick and elsewhere in Leicester.

Facility specifications

Our facility is centred around a state-of-the-art 300kV Thermo Fisher Titan Krios G3 cryo-electron microscope, with the latest generation of direct electron-detecting cameras. Alongside this is the High Performance Image Processing Facility which boasts the state-of-the-art computational infrastructure (based around powerful GPU’s) necessary to process the very large (>1TB /day) amounts of data generated by these instruments.

Contacts

To find out more about the facility and to explore opportunities for usage contact us at
cryoem@leicester.ac.uk 

or visit: https://le.ac.uk/liscb/facilities-and-technologies/cryo-electron-microscopy/facility-access