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Equipment/Services

The David Van Andel Advanced Cryo-Electron Microscopy Suite

The David Van Andel Advanced Cryo-Electron Microscopy Suite is an internal facility that offers a range of comprehensive cryo-electron microscopy services along with consulting and training to VARI investigators.  

Due to high demand, the Cryo-EM Suite is only open to internal investigators

Microscopes

Titan Krios

Primary use: Data collection

The Titan Krios is a revolutionary, state-of-the-art transmission electron microscope that visualizes cells, proteins and other crucial structures through atomic-resolution 3-D microscopy and cellular tomography. Unlike traditional methods, it does not require samples to be crystalized prior to imaging, saving time and resources while also capturing the target in its natural state.

Capabilities

  • 3-D cryo-electron microscopy
  • 2-D electron crystallography
  • Single particle analysis
  • Dual-axis cellular tomography

Specifications

  • 80–300 kV operating range
  • Gatan Quantum 967 LS imaging filter
  • Post-GIF Gatan K2 direct detection camera
  • Pre-GIF Ceta 16M camera
  • Automated loading for up to 12 samples
  • Ultra-stable Schottky field emitter gun
  • Three-lens condenser system for parallel sample illumination
  • Digital system for remote operation

Talos Arctica

Primary use: Cryo-EM grid screening and data collection

Considered to be the workhorse of VARI’s Cryo-EM Suite, the Talos Arctica is a transmission electron microscope that provides high-resolution and high-throughput 2-D and 3-D imaging of frozen, hydrated biological components, including cells, organelles and proteins.

Capabilities

  • 3-D cryo-electron microscopy
  • 2-D electron crystallography
  • Single-particle analysis

Specifications

  • 200 kV FEG transmission electron microscope
  • Automated loading for up to 12 samples
  • Falcon 3EC direct electron detector
  • Ceta 16M camera

Tecnai Spirit G2 BioTWIN

Primary use: Sample screening

The Tecnai Spirit G2 BioTWIN is a flexible 120kV microscope mainly used for screening negatively stained samples.

Capabilities

  • Negative-stain screening
  • High-contrast, high-resolution imaging

Specifications

  • 20–120 kV operational range
  • Gatan Orius 830 CCD camera
  • Auto-Gun and automatic tuning
  • Smart Tracking Position System

Linux workstations

Linux workstations are an indispensable part of the cryo-EM image processing pipeline. The Suite has three Linux workstations (Silicon Mechanics Workform 2000.v6) dedicated to cryo-EM analysis that are reserved for suite users.

Specifications

  • CPU: Intel Xeon E5-2620. 8 cores, hyperthreading, 20 MB cache, 14 nm, 85W
  • Ram: 128GB DDR4-2400 ECC registered
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition with 8 GB GDDR5X 
  • Disk: Two 6TB drives in a RAID1 mirror

Software

  • Linux Centos 7.3 OS with GNOME
  • Relion 1.4 and Relion 2
  • EMAN2
  • Pymol

Other Instrumentation:

Plasma cleaner: Gatan Solarus Model 950
Plunge freezers: FEI Vitrobot Mark IV
Carbon coater: HHV BT150