The Annual Krebs Lecture

The increasing power of cryoEM for macromolecular structure determination

by Professor Richard Henderson, FRS FMedSci

Tuesday 24 April 2018, 6pm Lecture Theatre 1, The Diamond, 32 Leavygreave Road

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thekrebslectureProfessor Henderson is a molecular biologist and biophysicist, pioneer in the field of electron microscopy of biological molecules, and 2017 Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry

Lecture synopsis: In the last few years, single particle electron cryomicroscopy (cryoEM) has experienced a quantum leap in its capability, due to improved electron microscopes, better detectors and better software, and this is revolutionising structural biology. Using the technique invented by Jacques Dubochet and his colleagues, a thin film containing a suspension of the macromolecules of interest is plunge-frozen into liquid ethane at liquid nitrogen temperature, creating a frozen sample in which individual images of the structures can be seen in many different orientations. Subsequent computer-based image analysis is then used to determine the three-dimensional structure, frequently at near-atomic resolution. I will describe some recent results and discuss remaining barriers to progress. CryoEM is already a very powerful method, but there are still many improvements that can be made before the approach reaches its theoretical limits.

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