27 January 2017

Novo Nordisk Foundation donates a DKK 60 mio (7.8 mio €) grant to the University of Copenhagen (Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences) for the establishment of a pioneering cryo-electron microscope facility at Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research. The new equipment will help researchers reach new insights in the structure of proteins and could eventually pave the way for new pharmaceuticals.


High-resolution image of molecules captured with the Cryo-EM.
Associate Professor P. Mesa

University of Copenhagen has been granted DKK 60 mio (7.8 mio €) by the Novo Nordisk Foundation to establish a cryo-electron microscope facility. The cryo-electron microscope (Cryo-EM) will be placed at the Core Facility for Integrated Microscopy at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences and anchored at Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research.

The cryo-electron microscope (Cryo-EM) is considered a revolution within structural biology. It uses electron beams that can be focused with lenses to see the structures of biomolecules – even the ones that have resisted x-ray crystallography. This new technology allows researchers to visualize more precisely how the essential machinery of the cell operates and how molecules, such as proteins, protein-DNA or multiprotein complexes, which are involved in disease might be targeted with drugs.

In addition to the microscope, the grant will cover the recruitment of a new group leader in Professor Guillermo Montoya´s program. Guillermo Montoya is one of the leading researchers in protein structure, and the contribution from the Novo Nordisk Foundation is a substantial acknowledgement of his work.

I am thrilled by the success of this grant. The acquisition of this equipment and the arrival of a new group in our program constitute a quantum leap for our studies of important protein and DNA complexes involved in different aspects of genome modification and genome instability. This support is essential in order to sustain our competitiveness at world-class level”, says Guillermo Montoya.

With this grant the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences will have direct access to a state-of-the-art Cryo-EM facility and researchers from the University of Copenhagen will benefit from the advanced equipment and the highly specialized expertise of the scientists running the facility. The facility will also support and make available its expertise to research groups from life science, biomedicine and biotechnology outside the University of Copenhagen both within academia and industry.

Director of Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research Jiri Lukas is looking forward to the new upgrade of Center facilities: “Cryo-EM is a fantastic addition to the Center’s technological portfolio and fully in line with the main mission of our Center to generate discoveries through cutting-edge technology. I would like to thank Guillermo Montoya for developing this project from start to end, and the Novo Nordisk Foundation for their visionary investment, which makes the Center and in extension the greater Copenhagen area a hub of international protein science”.

“I am delighted by the Foundation’s big donation to our research infrastructure. By establishing the Cryo-EM facility we strengthen our already acknowledged position within protein research. I am confident that the microscope will help us reach new milestones in this field of expertise”, says Ulla Wewer, dean of the Faculty of Health and Medical Science at the University of Copenhagen.

Contact information
Professor Guillermo Montoya
Telephone: +45 51 32 45 81
E-mail: guillermo.montoya@cpr.ku.dk

Lotte Skipper, communications consultant
Telephone: +45 51 29 80 41
E-mail: lotte.skipper@cpr.ku.dk