Comment: Nobel Prize winning microscopy rests at the heart of Sheffield's revolutionary imaging research

Today (Wednesday 4 October), the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Richard Henderson (MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge), Jacques Dubochet (University of Lausanne) and Joachim Frank (Columbia University), "for developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution".

This technology is at the heart of the work being undertaken as part of our Imagine: Imaging Life project, which is using revolutionary microscopy techniques to answer some of the biggest questions in biology and medicine. The Imagine team released the following statement:

"Today the revolutionary impact of cryo-electron microscopy on our understanding of fundamental life processes has been recognised through the announcement of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

"Cryo-electron microscopy (CryoEM) is one of the techniques that is fundamental to our Imagine: Imaging Life programme. CryoEM has allowed us to visualise biochemical processes in unprecedented detail: in a way which, in the words of the Nobel organisation, 'is decisive for both the basic understanding of life’s chemistry and for the development of pharmaceuticals'.

"Our work in Imagine builds directly on the methods first pioneered by Henderson, Dubochet, Frank and others, starting in the 1970s and 1980s. It is an especially exciting day for one of our Imagine team, Per Bullough, who was a student in the Henderson lab in the 1980s and witnessed many of the early developments taking shape."