Transmission Electron Microscope

Lead Research Organisation: John Innes Centre
Department Name: Cell and Develop Biology


This is a proposal to purchase a state-of-the-art transmission electron microscope (TEM). TEM is an essential technique for biological research, because it is currently the best way of visualising cellular and sub-cellular structures in great detail / in favourable cases at the molecular level. Because these machines are expensive and time-consuming to maintain, we propose to share the microscope between 3 partner institutions which are adjacent to each other in Norwich: the John Innes Centre, the Institute of Food Research and the Biological Sciences Department of the University of East Anglia. The proposed microscope would have the capability of carrying out 3D reconstructions of sub-cellular structures, which would overcome one of the most significant limitations of biological electron microscopy / that only a 2D picture of the biological structures is nomally produced. The equipment will be used to train many students and other scientists in the use of TEM, which is important as fewer and fewer biologists are learning these skills. It will provide a crucial part of a wide range of research across the partner institutions, from basic plant cell biology and microbiology at John Innes to food science at IFR and biomedical research at the University of East Anglia. The new machine will replace very old machines at the three sites which have reached the end of their useful life and will soon be impossible to maintain.

Technical Summary

This proposal is to purchase a 200kV transmission electron microscope (TEM), with tomography capabilities. It will serve the TEM needs of 3 partner institutions on the Norwich Research Park, the John Innes Centre, the Institute for Food Research and the Biological Sciences department of the University of East Anglia, for the next 10 years. Because of the expense and specialised support needed for TEM, it is no longer cost-effective for IFR and BIO to maintain their own TEM facilities. The current TEMs in the three organizations are all about 20 years old, and will soon become impossible to maintain. The new machine will be housed and maintained in a purpose built Bioimaging facility at JIC, who will provide support and training for all users across the NRP. It will be used to train many PhD students and other scientists in TEM, and will form an important resource for future collaborative projects across NRP. The tomography capabilities will provide powerful new capabilities for determination of cellular organization at close to molecular resolution using labelling techniques and correlative microscopy.


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