Title: Electron Microscopy Applications in Life Science
Speaker: Dr. Clarissa Read
Central Facility for Electron Microscopy
Electron Microscopy (EM) is an important imaging tool in life sciences. Due to the shorter wavelength of accelerated electrons compared to visible light, higher resolutions are achieved with the electron microscope. Thus, it is a technique that can visualize sub-cellular structures, such as mitochondria, the Golgi apparatus and the nucleus in the cellular context and the only method that can visualize structures smaller than 200 nm, such as mitochondrial christae, nuclear pores or viruses in the cellular context. However, biological samples have a high water content. Liquid water would evaporate in the vacuum of an electron microscope column and this would destroy the fine structural features. Thus, sophisticated sample preparation procedures are necessary to remove or to freeze the water without changing the ultrastructure. Dependent on the scientific question, the optimal sample preparation protocol is chosen.
The versatility of EM is also highlighted by the various imaging modalities that exist. They come with different resolutions, and some provide additional information in the third dimension. Which technique is used is again dependent on the questions asked. By presenting examples of EM projects from Ulm University, I will provide an overview of EM preparation and imaging techniques. This will help finding the optimal workflow for your project.