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Cutting-edge electron microscope revealed

13th September 2018


The University of Glasgow has opened an innovative new structural biology centre, home to a cutting-edge electron microscope -­ the first of its kind in Scotland - that will be used to image biological molecules at the atomic level. 
 
The technology will be used to support vital research into diseases posing the greatest threat to human and animal health, providing greater capabilities in areas such as vaccine development, cancer research, and drug design and discovery.
 
The new £5m Scottish Centre for Macromolecular Imaging (SCMI) is part of the Medical Research Council-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research (CVR) and is the result of collaboration between researchers from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and St Andrews.
 
The SCMI was opened by Richard Henderson FRS, Nobel Laureate 2017 for Chemistry, and attended by world-leading investigators and keynote speakers from around the globe. 
 
Investment for the centre was awarded through the Medical Research Council (MRC) to boost structural and cell biology research, and is part of an £11.3m government funding boost by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. 
 
The modern Industrial Strategy sets out a long term plan to boost the productivity and earning power of people throughout the UK, helping businesses create better, higher-paying jobs in every part of the UK with investment in skills, industries and infrastructure.
 
Structural biology involves determining the 3D architecture of proteins and other biological components in order to provide crucial insights into important processes in health and disease.
  
The opening of the SCMI is centred around a two-day symposium exploring the technology of cryogenic electron microscopy (CryoEM), which allows scientists to study and visualise the biological processes on the cellular and molecular scale.
 
Additional support for the SCMI came from the Scottish Funding Council, Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance (SULSA) and the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research. A further charitable donation has been made by the M J M Smith Trust for the supply of essential computer equipment.
 
Dr David Bhella, Director of the SCMI, said: "Cryogenic transmission electron microscopy (cryoEM) is revolutionising the field of structural biology. The Scottish Centre for Macromolecular Imaging is a tremendous opportunity not only for the CVR, but also for life sciences in Scotland.
 
"Our new facility will place the CVR and the University of Glasgow right at the centre of vital structural biology research by offering a world-class capability. The new technology will help us investigate key processes in infection and cancer biology."





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