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Elise Overgaard Attends cryo-EM Workshop

Elise Overgaard (Ph.D. Student) had the opportunity this summer to attend a microscope operation training workshop at the Pacific Northwest Cryo-EM Center (PNCC –, which is an NIH-funded national core facility with cryo-electron microscopy equipment that does not exist in the state of Idaho. She was selected from a pool of applicants to attend the two week on-site training on how to prepare protein samples for cryo-EM and on how to use the microscopes. The training included topics like freezing protein samples on grids using plunge freezer equipment, setting up the electron beam and running regular tuning protocols, using the microscope user interface and SerialEM software packages, screening grids for quality, and setting up data collection. Workshop attendees were selected based on the availability of cryo-EM equipment at their home institutions and the degree of current project preparedness, with priority given to those without local access to cryo-EM equipment and those with projects that are ready to begin. At the end of the training, Elise received a certification which allows her to utilize the equipment at any one of the three national cryo-EM centers. PNCC has accepted her project proposal for preparing and screening grids with bacterial toxin samples from her graduate research work, so later this summer she will go back to complete the work on the project. This is an incredible opportunity that has been made possible by NIH funding, work under accepted proposals is fully funded by the NIH and is conducted at the center free of charge to the investigator, and also by travel support from the BMOL Program and the Biomolecular Research Center. Elise hopes to produce some data later this month!