Cryo-Electron Tomography (cryoET) is an emerging technique that can resolve subcellular structures in situ with potential to reach subnanometer resolutions. Correlated cryo-fluorescence light microscopy (cryoFLM) and cryoET of frozen, hydrated cells can be used to study cellular and molecular functions and dynamics in the 3D context of cells and tissues at a higher resolution than any other imaging technique. For samples which are traditionally too thick for imaging via cryoET, a focused ion beam (FIB) can be used to produce thin lamellae (~100-300 nm) from frozen, hydrated cells containing targets of interest. The combination of cryoET, cryoFLM, and/or cryoFIB along with various other cryoET sample preparation techniques will enable researchers to study macromolecular complexes, at subnanometer resolutions, in their native environment of intact cells.
The missions of the Stanford-SLAC CryoET Center (SCSC) are:
- To provide access to state-of-the-art instrumentation and knowledge about cryoET specimen preparation
- To provide user training and support, to increase the ability of the community to perform cryoET experiments, particularly in cells
- To implement developments of new technologies and workflows for cryoET sample preparation
When operational, the Center will implement state-of-the-art cryo-specimen preparation devices. We will provide expert staff that trains, assists, and advises users, both onsite and remotely, and be available for consultation beforehand and in a follow-up program. We will cross-train scientists who want to employ cryoET within their own research portfolios. Our training will be targeted at a wide variety of skill levels - including short-term and long-term in-residence training programs for cryoET sample preparation. Access to the Center will be through an open process based on scientific merit.