Cryo-EM Facility

cryo EM

Recent advances in cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) have made it possible to visualize extremely complex biological systems, providing novel molecular insight into human biology and disease. Cryo-EM has become an essential structural biology tool, enabling the determination of 3D structures for large biological macromolecules and complexes, as well as cellular components. At CSHL, the Cyro-EM Facility offers researchers access to a cutting edge instrument that can be applied broadly to study macromolecular machines.

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Core Facility Staff

Facility Manager

Dennis Thomas


Installation of the FEI Titan G3 Krios began August 10th 2017 in a special built facility in the Beckmann lab. The microscope was accepted early in Dec. 2017 and after training and testing, the cryoEM facility has been operating almost continuously since Jan. 2018. The Titan G3 can collect data automatically. It has autoloading capability which can hold and transfer up to 12 samples. To date we have achieved resolutions as high as 2.2 angstroms and can collect as many as 410 images per hour (300+ typical) using the installed Gatan K3 electron detector. The K3 detector is mounted on a Gatan Bioquantum energy filter. The Titan G3 also has an installed phase plate.

photo of the FEI Talos 120C
The screening EM, a FEI Talos 120C, in the sample preparation lab next to the Titan in the Beckman building.

We have a Microscope for screening, an FEI/ThermoFisher Talos 120C for negative stain and cryo-prescreening of samples.

photo of Cryo-EM devices
Automated sample prep devices for vitrifying specimens. There are two, one from Leica, the second from FEI/ThermoFisher. Also in the image are a Pelco glow discharge device and Gatan cryo holders for the Talos 120c in their pumping stations.

We also have two automated plunge freezers for vitrifying specimens. The FEI/ThermoFisher Vitrobot uses double sided blotting and the Leica GP plunger uses single sided blotting providing flexibility in sample prep.

The facility is routinely capable of data collection at about 300 images per hour or higher which allows as many as 5000 images to be collected overnight. For in house samples this has meant more than 1,000,000 particles collected overnight for various samples. The facility has on-the-fly processing capability using a local machine with 4 GPUs and 48 CPUs, 512 GB RAM. This computer is directly connected to the K3 processing computer and then connected via fiber optic network to our High performance computing center. Where there is access to GPU and CPU clusters. All currently available software is available as part of the SBgrid network.

If you think you might have a project that could benefit from these resources please contact the Facility Manager Dennis Thomas at thomas@cshl.edu or call 7-5909.

The Titan G3 operating in Beckmann

photo of the Titan G3
The Titan G3 microscope.
photo of the Titan G3 control room
The control room for the Titan G3 is separate from the microscope. The computer screens show an acquisition in progress.