Request for Proposals

MSU has completed installation of a 200 kV cryogenic Transmission Electron Microscope – a Talos Arctica equipped with a Gatan K3 camera.  This regional cryo-EM resource will allow users across Northern Rocky Mountain Region to perform:

  1. High resolution (~3 Angstrom) analysis of macromolecular complexes
  2. Cryo-electron tomography for imaging cellular structures at nanometer (pseudo-atomic) resolution
  3. Micro-electron diffraction to determine both small and macromolecular structures from sub-micron sized crystals. In the future, it will also enable correlated light and electron microscopy (CLEM).

Purpose of Mini-Grants

Purpose of Mini-Grants: To identify projects that will benefit from this new instrument and help PIs generate preliminary data to support one or more aims of their next external grant application. Mini-grant funds ($5,000-$10,000) may be utilized for supplies and to support personnel responsible for sample preparation.  In addition, funded projects will receive free microscope time and generous technical assistance with data collection and data analysis.

We realize many investigators lack experience with cryo-EM. We are happy to consult individually or in small groups to brainstorm on how your specific research program might incorporate cryo-EM, and to help refine your mini-grant proposal prior to submission. Just send a quick email if you would like to discuss possibilities, and the most appropriate member of our advisory committee will be in touch.

To apply:

Please send a brief description of your proposed project to [email protected]

The proposal should address the following:

  1. Introduction: Short paragraph that explains the scientific problem.
  2. Specific Aims: State concisely the goals of each aim. Highlight the aim that includes a significant cryo-EM component. Ideally, these aims reflect an integrated approach to your problem, with cryo-EM working synergistically to strengthen the overall proposal.
  3. Experiment: A brief description of proposed work required to prepare samples for cryo-EM
  4. Brief budget and budget justification: Unfortunately, funding cannot be used to support graduate students if the work is related to their thesis project. Funding can be used for post-docs and technicians. Technicians can be anyone with the proper skills, including undergraduates or a postbac; it just cannot be part of their studies.


Review of applications will begin July 5th, 2021, and continue until funds are expended.  Seed grant funding is courtesy of the Murdock Charitable Trust. Funding for acquisition of the Arctica/K3 is from the National Science Foundation, the Murdock Charitable Trust, and MSU’s Office of Research, Economic Development and Graduate Education.