Researchers at Duke are hard at work in the development of a novel vaccine to fight the coronavirus. The cryo-transmission electron microscope housed at Duke’s Shared Materials Instrumentation Facility (SMIF) is playing a major role in this work. This microscope helps scientists determine the structure of proteins in the virus to help guide vaccine design. To learn more, see the press release here.
The RTNN will return to the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, NC on Saturday, August 17th from 10 am – 4 pm.
We will investigate things you encounter every day through a different lens! Join us as we take an up-close look at everything from bugs to Band-Aids through a Scanning Electron Microscope! Can you guess what you’re viewing from structures nanometers small?
Learn more about our previous event at the museum here.
The cryo-TEM housed in Duke’s Shared Materials Instrumentation Facility was recently featured in Duke’s Research News. This instrument helps researchers resolve the complex structures of proteins. The cryo-TEM can capture hundreds of thousands of images of these small molecules, and power software is employed to reconstruct the structures in three-dimensions. To learn more, read the full news article.
To celebrate Nanomonth at the Museum of Life and Science, the RTNN brought its expertise as well as a set of light microscopes and a portable desktop scanning electron microscope to The Lab. This venue provides a unique space for hands-on science experiences. Museum visitors learned the differences between the two types of microscopes and examined a variety of samples on each tool. Over 130 people of all ages stopped by to view electronic components found in their phones and tablets and the structures that give Morpho butterfly wings their brilliant blue color. During the NC Science Festival we will be at the Chapel Hill Public Library on April 13th from 1-3 pm with these microscopes and other nanotechnology hands-on activities.
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; firstname.lastname@example.org) for details regarding the application process. The MMC is open to applications from academic institutions in the Triangle and surrounding regions.