DALLAS, May 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- At one of the country's leading academic medical centers, it just became a lot easier to take a closer look.
UT Southwestern Medical Center has announced the opening of a new $17 million cryo-electron microscope (cryo-EM) facility housing a unique collection of instruments that researchers can use to view 3-D images of objects as tiny as an atom all the way up to intact cells.
"We are the only institution in the world with this configuration of instruments," said Dr. Sandra Schmid, Chair of the Department of Cell Biology and holder of the Cecil H. Green Distinguished Chair in Cellular and Molecular Biology. "It establishes UT Southwestern as one of the world's top facilities for cryo-EM structural biology."
The facility's three cutting-edge instruments – a Titan Krios, a Talos Arctica, and a Scios DualBeam for thin-slice cryo-electron tomography – are expected to provide the technologies to help accelerate UT Southwestern's biomedical investigations on everything from cancer biology to drug discovery and will run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
These instruments will analyze specimens that have been rapidly frozen to prevent the formation of damaging ice crystals. The specimens will then be viewed in special holders under conditions that keep them at cryogenic temperatures (minus 321 degrees Fahrenheit).
The three advanced instruments and the special climate- and humidity-controlled, vibration-protected building to house them received funding from an anonymous donor, UT Southwestern, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), the UT System's Science and Technology Acquisition and Retention program, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI).
"This facility marks a milestone in the evolution of our structural biology research efforts at UT Southwestern. We are grateful to our supporters whose visionary generosity has helped us create this exceptional facility aimed at making fundamental basic discoveries that can be foundational for advances in medicine," said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President of UT Southwestern, who holds the Philip O'Bryan Montgomery, Jr., M.D. Distinguished Presidential Chair in Academic Administration, and the Doris and Bryan Wildenthal Distinguished Chair in Medical Science.
The new facility is a joint effort of the Departments of Cell Biology and Biophysics. Dr. Schmid and Dr. Michael Rosen, Chair of Biophysics and an HHMI Investigator at UT Southwestern, led a team that spent four years planning and building the facility, which will be a shared resource across the academic medical center.
About UT Southwestern Medical Center
UT Southwestern, one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institution's faculty includes many distinguished members, including six who have been awarded Nobel Prizes since 1985. The faculty of almost 2,800 is responsible for groundbreaking medical advances and is committed to translating science-driven research quickly to new clinical treatments. UT Southwestern physicians provide medical care in about 80 specialties to more than 100,000 hospitalized patients and oversee approximately 2.2 million outpatient visits a year.
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SOURCE UT Southwestern Medical Center