23 November 2017

Ground-breaking Microscope Ready for Use

Up Close and Personal

SUND’s new cryo-electron microscope was inaugurated on Monday by Dean Ulla Wewer, CEO of the Novo Nordisk Foundation Birgitte Nauntofte and Professor Guillermo Montoya. The microscope has great potential for propelling biostructural research.

The DAM Auditorium was almost full, when Dean Ulla Wewer on Monday at half past three was the first to speak at the inauguration of the cryo-electron microscope at SUND. Among the audience were cooperation partners from Aarhus University, the Technical University of Denmark and interested researchers.

‘With the opening of this facility we here at the faculty, in Copenhagen and in Denmark gain access to ground-breaking technology that will enable us to see and understand the very smallest parts of life itself. It is a good example of our efforts to create the best possible facilities and infrastructure for research at the highest level’, Ulla Wewer said.

Open to Anyone with a Good Idea

The cryo-electron microscope is considered a revolution within structural biology. The microscope uses electron beams that can be focussed using lenses, making it possible with a great degree of accuracy to see the structures of biomolecules. The new technology allows the researchers more precisely to visualise how the cells’ essential machinery operates and how molecules like proteins, protein DNA and multi-protein complexes involved in diseases can be targeted with drugs.

From the left: the cryo-electron microscope, Professor Guillermo Montoya, CEO of the Novo Nordisk Foundation Birgitte Nauntofte and Dean Ulla Wewer.

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has contributed with DKK 60 million to the installation of the cryo-electron microscope.

In her speech at the inauguration the CEO of the foundation, Birgitte Nauntofte, stressed the research potential.

‘This facility really has the potential to take research in proteins, among other things, to a completely new level. It was important for us to ensure that the microscope would be accessible to anyone from the research environment with an interesting and ambitious idea. Both at the universities and the industry, in Denmark and abroad’, she said.

According to plan, the website enabling researchers to apply for permission to use the microscope will be launched within the next few weeks, Professor Guillermo Montoya said on the day.

Read more about how the microscope works.

(The video has been produced by Computerome, which processes data from the cryo-electron microscope).