The Structural Electron Microscopy Facility
Electron Cryo-Microscopy and 3D Image Reconstruction
Our EM suite houses a Tecnai F20 microscope and a CM12, that allow us to image frozen biological specimens at ~5-10Å.
Both instruments are currently in a dry room environment that minimizes contamination problems with frozen specimens. The microscopes are situated in adjacent rooms located on the first floor (on bedrock) of the Center for Advanced Medical Research building.
An inner prep room is also climate-controlled with the Harris dry-room conditioning system. The inner prep room contains a Vitrobot freezing robot (see image above) and a custom built plunge freezing device. Two additional custom plunge freezers are located in a cold room. The EM suite also houses an outer prep room with Gatan pumping station, a Pelco EZ GlowDischarge unit, a dual glow discharge unit, and carbon shadower, equipped with a stage for rotary metal shadowing. A computing room is also housed within the EM suite.. Day to day operations of the EM facility are overseen by D. Gantz, who has over 25 years of experience in microscopy. He also runs a separate histology laboratory on the 3rd floor for fixation and embedding of specimens.
Computing Facilities for the Structural EM Group
The EM Structural group has an extensive array of computers that are networked within the Department of Physiology & Biophysics with internet access maintained by the Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine. The group also carries out large scale single particle processing jobs on a GPU cluster. In addition, we have access to the BU Super Computing Facility
The Greater Boston Area Structural EM Community
The Structural EM groups at the Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine (comprised of Drs. C. Akey, E. Bullitt and W. Lehman) are part of a larger group within the greater Boston area:
This concentration of structural EM groups in Eastern Massachusetts now includes a new, state-of-the-art cryoEM facility at the U Mass Medical School, equipped with a Titan Krios and a Talos Arctica. The Massachusetts Structural Biology Club hosts monthly seminars that each include a biological and a technical talk.
This geographical centralization of laboratories with different and overlapping expertise provides a rich environment for carrying out structural EM studies. A perspective post-doctoral fellow could easily plan consecutive post-doctoral stints at different laboratories within the Boston area thereby minimizing disruptions to family and personal lives.