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Getting Started with Cryo-EM

Watch the recording of the event


Learn more about how you can use cryogenic-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to accelerate your research. On December 14, The Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis (CEMAS), in partnership with Thermo Fisher Scientific, hosted a “Getting Started with Cryo-EM” event to connect the needs of biomedical researchers with what is possible using our advanced instrumentation.

Since 2017, when the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to three scientists for their contributions in the development of cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), there has been incredible interest in this technique and how it can advance our understanding of biological materials. A cryo-electron microscope is a transmission electron microscope specifically designed to maintain samples at cryogenic temperatures at all times. Compared to traditional TEMs, cryo-electron microscopes also feature a suite of automation and sample-handling technology, increasing ease of use and ensuring that the maximum amount of high-quality data can be collected for each sample. Cryo-EM samples can maintain cryogenic conditions for days, allowing researchers ample time to collect data for high resolution reconstructions. Cryo-EM cools samples to cryogenic temperatures so quickly that it prevents water molecules from crystalizing, preserving the native sample structure. Once frozen, a range of EM techniques can be used to visualize the specimen in 3D at a variety of resolutions—including near-atomic resolution—allowing scientists to gain deeper, more comprehensive insights than previously possible.

There was a general overview covering the wide variety of cryo-EM applications followed by two sessions that highlight exciting work being carried out by our users. This event was intended for scientists who are excited about cryo-EM and want to see how it can enhance their specific research interests.


Session #1 – “Getting Started with Cryo-EM”, Brief overview of cryogenic-electron microscopy and the wide variety of applications for which it can be used (not just structural biology!). This presentation will be given by Dr. Natalia de Val, Senior Product Specialist from Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Session #2– “Imaging Cells and Revealing New Insights”, A member of Dr. Chen Gu’s lab will provide a first-hand account of how they began their cryo-EM project in imaging axonal varicosities and what new information they learned.

Session #3 – Dr. Chuck Bell, a faculty member in the College of Medicine Department of Biological Chemistry and Pharmacology, described how his group got started in single particle analysis, and how this has advanced the molecular understanding of their target.


The Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis is a centralized, coordinated imaging facility where traditional boundaries between disciplines are eliminated. With one of the largest concentrations of electron and ion beam analytical microscopy instruments in any North American institution, CEMAS brings together multidisciplinary expertise to drive synergy, amplify characterization capabilities, and challenge what is possible in analytical electron microscopy. Our full-service facility - from extensive sample preparation laboratories to image-processing tools and support - allows researchers to carry out their entire microscopy and analysis program at CEMAS. Located in a custom designed facility on The Ohio State University's West Campus, every instrument in the facility meets or exceeds manufacturer performance specifications.

Category: CRYO-EM


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