Electron Microscopy and Crystallography


The Electron Microscopy and Crystallography Platform is an open-access facility at CIC bioGUNE. It is a joint platform that focuses on structural biology for life science research. For this purpose, we use transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and X-ray crystallography to determine the sub-nanometric structure of different types of samples. For macromolecular crystallography, we offer crystallization services and support in data collection and processing.

For electron microscopy, we provide a personalized approach, focusing on vitrification and screening using the JEOL2200. With the aid of serialEM, we automate image collection and process it in real-time. This allows for efficient 2D classification, enabling a thorough evaluation of grid quality. Once samples reach optimal conditions for high-quality data acquisition, our in-house team clips grids, ensuring their prompt delivery to the designated facility for remote data collection. Beyond traditional cryoEM applications, we extend our expertise to the quality control of nanocarriers, exosomes, and Adeno-Associated Viruses (AAVs) pivotal in Gene Therapy. Rigorous assessments, including sample integrity, size distribution, and AAV filled vs empty ratios through 2D and 3D classification, are conducted. Statistical analyses, involving a minimum of 20,000 particles per sample, underpin our commitment to delivering precise and reliable results. In 2023, we received the ISO9001:2015 certification that assures our customers that all our work follows Quality Management Systems. Since 2024, the platform has integrated into the Electron Microscopy Network of the Basque Research and Technology Alliance (BRTA-EM), collaborating with affiliated centers for comprehensive cellular structural biology solutions. This encompasses vitrification, cryo-lamellae preparation using cryo-FIB, and scanning electron microscopy under cryogenic conditions for electron tomography.

Electron Microscopy Instrumentation

  • JEM-2200FS/CR transmission electron microscope (JEOL, Japan), equipped with a K2 direct electron detector device (GATAN, UK), and a 200-kV field emission gun (FEG) and an omega in-column energy filter.
  • JEM-1230 transmission electron microscope (JEOL, Japan), equipped with an UltraScan 4000 SP (4008×4008 pixels) cooled slow-scan CCD camera (GATAN, UK), and a 120-kV LaB6 thermionic gun.
  • Vitrobot MARK, an automated vitrification robot (FEI, The Netherlands).
  • Leica EM GP2 single-side blotting automated plunge freezer.
  • Pelco Easy-glow.
  • Workstation for data processing and access to the institute cluster: 10 nodes, Over 600 Intel Xeon CPUs, Over 5 Tb of memory, 34 GPUs (12 Geforce RTX 3090, 16 Geforce RTX 2080, and 6 Titan X).

X-Ray Crystallography Instrumentation

  • Automated liquid handling system (Tecan).
  • Crystallization (Mosquito) robots for high-throughput screening.
  • Image analysis platform (Crystal farm), to evaluate the performance of the screenings.

Service Request

For inquiries and consultations on Electron Microscopy (Cryo-EM, Cryo-ET, Cryo-TEM) and Macromolecular Crystallography projects, please contact directly with Adriana L Rojas emicroscopyplatform@cicbiogune.es