Electron Microscopy

The Electron Microscopy (EM) STP provides the equipment and expertise necessary to image the structure of molecules, cells and tissues at high resolution.

Every imaging experiment is different, and so the EM team collaborates with the research scientists to design workflows unique to each research project. Sample preparation protocols, microscope type, imaging strategy and data analysis are customised to deliver results. Where established techniques and technology cannot answer the scientific question, the EM STP works with research scientists to design and develop new methods, which are then communicated on to the wider microscopy community through publications, workshops and conferences. Six experienced post-doctoral electron microscopists and two post-doctoral scientists with image analysis and laser physics expertise allow us to deliver this level of flexibility and innovation.

The EM STP has expertise in preparing, imaging and interpreting a wide range of samples including proteins, DNA, protein:DNA complexes, yeast, viruses and virus-infected cells, cultured cell lines, tissues and model organisms (including fruit flies, worms and zebrafish).

The EM STP uses a wide range of sample preparation and imaging techniques, including negative staining, low-angle rotary shadowing, light microscopy, resin embedding and ultramicrotomy, cryosectioning and immunolabelling, plunge freezing, high pressure freezing and freeze substitution, correlative light and electron microscopy (CLEM), transmission EM, scanning EM, electron tomography, volume electron microscopy (Serial Block Face SEM, Focused Ion Beam SEM), integrated light and electron microscopy (ILEM), cryo-fluorescence microscopy, cryo-transmission electron microscopy and cryo-soft X-ray tomography (at Diamond, ALBA and BESSY II synchrotrons).

The EM STP also provides expertise and advice in big data handling and analysis, from alignment and reconstruction to 3D model generation and display. We have ongoing collaborations with Computer Vision scientists to develop algorithms for automatic segmentation of electron microscopy images, and correlation of data from different imaging modalities.

In addition, the STP environment provides a hotbed for imaging research and innovation, which in recent years has delivered automated 3D EM of cells and tissues, maintenance of fluorophores in EM samples for simultaneous functional and structural imaging in integrated super-resolution light and electron microscopes, and the implementation of super-quick protocols that take us from live samples to imaging in the electron microscope in just one day.

Lucy Collinson

Lucy Collinson (Lead) 

+44 (0) 20 7269 3416