About Us

The Cryo-EM core facility at Montana State University is located in the Chemistry and Biochemistry department, and access and instrument time is available to all with advanced scheduling. The current capabilities of the facility include TEM imaging, cryo-grid preparation and screening, single particle analysis, and cryo-electron tomography.

Services Offered

Single Particle Analysis

Single particle analysis (SPA) of biological samples is a state of the art technique for interrogation of the structures and physical properties of small biomolecules. Single particle analysis especially shines for large enzyme complexes, viruses, and hard to crystallize samples, and can provide high-resolution data.

For single particle analysis, current collection rates are ~7,000 images/day via SerialEM.  The facility offers live, on-the-fly data analysis, and is equipped for full remote operation and can transfer data between institutions via Globus.

Cryo-electron Tomography

Cryo-electron tomography (CET) is a revolutionary technique that allows for detailed data collection of complex biological samples, illuminating previously hard to interrogate phenomena such as virus-cell interactions, or localization of sub-cellular structures. 

Available Instruments

Talos Arctica Cryo-EM + Gatan K3 Direct Electron Detector

The Talos Arctica Cryo-EM is a powerful, stable, and versatile 200kV FEG transmission electron microscope (TEM) built for delivering high-resolution 3D characterization of biological samples and biomaterials in cell biology, structural biology, and nanotechnology research. The Talos Arctica TEM enables scientists to quickly obtain better insight and understanding of macromolecular structures, cellular components, cells, and tissues in three dimensions.

Tecnai Spirit TEM + Gatan UltraScan 1000 XP

The Tecnai Spirit TEM is an easy  to use 20 kV to 120 kV transmission electron microscope (TEM)  designed to provide high-contrast, high-resolution imaging and analysis. Accelerating voltages ranging from 20 kV to 120 kV are ideal for light element biological matrices and provide the low voltage capability.

Vitrobot Mk. IV

 The Vitrobot Mark IV System is a state-of-the-art specimen preparation unit that offers great value to the demanding scientific areas of cell biology and molecular imaging as well as being very suitable for food, industrial, pharmaceutical and nanotechnological applications—where the true colloidal structure needs to be viewed.


Funding to establish the cryo-EM core facility was provided by the National Science Foundation, the Murdock Charitable Trust, and MSU's Office of Research, Economic Development, and Graduate Education