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Opening up cryoEM: The Rosalind Franklin Institute commits to fund a new detector for low energy cryoEM

11 Mar 2020

The Rosalind Franklin Institute has committed to developing a multi-million pound technology which enables a more accessible form of electron cryo-microscopy.

The development project is part of a new initiative in collaboration with Nobel prize winner and cryoEM pioneer Dr Richard Henderson and his colleague Dr Chris Russo, both from the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (MRC LMB) in Cambridge.

The goal of the project is to develop a detector which can work at a much lower energy, 100 keV, versus the current industry standard 300 keV, to obtain atomic scale images of biological samples. 

Crucially, the new detector will produce better data from the lower energy, 100 keV microscope than existing detectors working with higher energy microscopes.

CryoEM currently requires large and expensive technology, which is housed in highly specialist environments. Lowering the energy of the electrons enables the use of a simpler, and cheaper, electron gun. The new detector, named C100, is the critical first step in this democratisation of the method.

The ultimate aim is to encourage faster scientific progress by bringing a quick, simple and reliable cryoEM to medical research laboratories and drug companies around the world, allowing a massive shift in the accessibility of this revolutionary technique.

Visit the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) website to find out more.

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