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Cryo Electron Microscopy and Tomography Core

Overview of Services

The Core for CryoEM and CryoET is a state-of-the-art resource for the Houston research community permitting near-atomic resolution 3-D analysis of the structure and dynamics of macromolecules and assemblies, either purified or within cells (in certain situations). This includes the established technique of single particle analysis, whereby images of tens of thousands to millions of isolated macromolecules are reconstructed to produce one or more 3-D structures at high resolution as well as in-situ electron cryotomography which permits the 3-D study of cells or regions of cells at resolutions 100x better than optical microscopy. This later technique is now being extended to extract the structures of macromolecules from within the cellular volume, producing 3-D structure of macromolecules functioning in their native state. Single particle analysis is a direct alternative to X-ray crystallography, and can provide additional information crystallography cannot access. Our center is equipped with four high-end electron cryomicroscopes and the associated equipment required to prepare optimal specimens.


Our facility was previously funded as an NIH P41 center (the National Center for Macromolecular Imaging), and pioneered many of the techniques which have made this field so successful in recent years, including some of the first near atomic resolution structures as well as early studies of macromolecular flexibility and dynamics. We have the equipment and expertise to approach a wide range of structural problems at the 1 nm – 1 micron scale. We can assist with all aspects of CryoEM/ET from optimal specimen preparation through 3-D reconstruction and analysis. To begin, a new project request form should be completed, after which we will contact you to schedule a (free) meeting with one or both of the Core directors, to discuss specific issues which may impact your proposed specimen. Groups making extensive use of the center resources may consider having a user trained on the 200 keV instruments, which will save charges for staff time. The high resolution instrument (JEOL 3200) is used only by center staff, but is automated, so only limited staff time charges will normally be incurred.


Getting Started

If you plan to make use of the CryoEM Core, we require a brief initial (no cost) consultation with Dr. Ludtke and/or Dr. Zhao for new projects. To request a consultation, register in iLabs, then go to the "Request Services" tab and fill out a "New Project Proposal & Consultation Request" form. This will ask for some details about your specimen, and we will contact you to schedule a meeting. At the meeting we will discuss the specific needs of your project. If you are an experienced CryoEM user, and already know precisely what you need, you will still need to fill out the project information form, but we will waive the meeting requirement.



Steven Ludtke, PhD., Core Director



Zhao Wang, Assistant Professor, Co-Director



Joanita Jakana, EM Manager




Isaac Forrester, EM Specialist





Snekalatha Raveendran, Project Manager


Location and hours of operation

Hours      Location

Open to Trained Users: 24/7

Staffed Hours: Monday - Friday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

     One Baylor Plaza
     Alkek Building, N006
     Houston, TX, 77030



Name Role Phone Email Location
Steven Ludtke, PhD
Alkek Building, N420.01
Zhao Wang, PhD
Alkek Building, N410.07