SMIF’s New Cryo-TEM joins Molecular Microscopy Consortium

Duke’s Shared Materials Instrumentation Facility will soon be home to a new cryo-transmission electron microscope: the FEI Krios. The microscope joins the FEI Talos Arctica (located at the the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIEHS) as part of the Molecular Microscopy Consortium (MMC) in the Research Triangle. This consortium is a partnership between NIEHS, Duke University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The mission of the MMC is to enable the use of single particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and other tools in molecular microscopy to researchers across North Carolina. Cryo-EM is increasingly being used to determine the structure of macromolecules at atomic resolution. There is also emerging interest in applying the technology to the ultrastructure analysis of cellular compartments. The MMC was established to meet the growing demand for instrumentation and expertise in this area.

Director Mario Borgnia leads the MMC and is supported by a Core Team of expert personnel from each participating institution. The MMC functions as a space where projects are carried out as scientific collaborations with members of the Core Team. The following types of projects are currently being pursued:

  • Structural biology groups with an established cryo-EM expertise seeking access to imaging equipment or processing pipelines
  • Collaborative projects in which the lead is a structural biology group seeking to be trained and gain expertise in cryo-EM
  • Long term collaborative projects with non-structural groups where the MMC provides expertise by solving structures using cryo-EM
  • Collaborative projects in which there is a need for significant development of new techologies in cryo-EM

Researchers interested in using the MMC should contact Mario Borgnia (919-541-3120; for details regarding the application process. The MMC is open to applications from academic institutions in the Triangle and surrounding regions.