Aarhus University Seal

Inauguration of the Danish National Cryo-EM Facility, EMBION

Cryogenic Electron Microscopy (cryo-EM) has become a truly important technique in molecular cell biology as well as medicine and biotechnology. Together with the University of Copenhagen, Aarhus University has established state-of-the-art cryo-EM facilities in Aarhus and Copenhagen, which will be inaugurated on October 12, 2020. The research infrastructure is expected to strengthen the Danish research in proteins, enzymes and new medicine.

The state-of-the-art Danish National cryo-EM facilities, EMBION, will be inaugurated on October 12, 2020. The facilities are established by Aarhus University together with University of Copenhagen.
Professor Poul Nissen (Aarhus University) (photo) is leading EMBION, The Danish National Cryo-EM Facilities, together with Professor Guillermo Montoya (University of Copenhagen). (Photo: Lisbeth Heilesen)

EMBION, the Danish National cryo-EM facilities, is led by Professor Poul Nissen from Aarhus University and Professor Guillermo Montoya from the University of Copenhagen, with participation from the University of Southern Denmark, the Technical University of Denmark, and the Statens Serum Institut. Aalborg University also supports EMBION.

On October 12, 2020, EMBION will be inaugurated at an online event with short talks by Rector Brian Bech Nielsen, Dean Kristian Pedersen, Flemming Besenbacher (iNANO founder and Chairman of the Carlsberg Foundation), Professor Guillermo Montoya (University of Copenhagen), and Professor Poul Nissen (Aarhus University). 

Programme for the inauguration
Registration is free, but necessary. Please register here

Revealing atomic scale details with state-of-the-art instruments

Cryogenic Electron Microscopy (cryo-EM) is a Nobel Prize-winning method for imaging frozen-hydrated specimens at cryogenic temperatures by electron microscopy. Specimens remain in their native state, allowing the study of fine cellular structures and the determination of structures of large biological molecules such as proteins, RNA and DNA at atomic level. This reveals insights into how life processes work and are disturbed in disease. At the same time, the technology paves the way for drug development and enzymes in production of, for example, bioethanol, food and green chemistry, as well as new protein-based materials

The aim of EMBION is to provide this technology to the Danish research community with state-of-the-art facilities consisting of a flagship Titan Krios Cryoelectron mikroscope (DKK 31 million) with a post-Quantum Gatan K2 detector and screening microscopes providing atomic structure determination of large biomolecules. Recently the facilities have been expanded with another Titan Krios Cryoelectron mikroscope (DKK 24 million), which soon is ready for performing biomolecular structure determinations.

The pharmaceutical and biotech industries will benefit themselves or through cooperative projects from using the facility, and the research infrastructure is expected to contribute to economic growth by creating better conditions for the development of new pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and protein-based materials and the possibility of spin-off companies. Useful raw data, protocols and checklists for the development and preparation of optimal experiments from the facility will be available on open databases for knowledge transfer. Other knowledge transfer activities planned are courses, open symposiums, the possibility of Industrial PhD students and postdocs and an offer of learning cryoEM methods and facilities. 

3rd CryoNET Symposium - New Directions in Cryo-EM Research

Immediately after the inauguration of the Cryo-EM facilities the Nordic network in Cryo-EM, CryoNET will have their 3rd annual symposium, which through a panel of distinguished speakers will highlight the latest discoveries facilitated by Cryo-EM research and new directions that are emerging.

Read more about the “3rd CryoNET Symposium - New Directions in Cryo-EM Research” and how to register here (deadline for general registration is October 8, 2020). 

Financial support

The EMBION team is first of all grateful for being included in the Danish Roadmap to Research Infrastructure and the generous contributions from Danish Agency for Research and Innovation. Another important contribution to the facilities was provided by the Carlsberg Foundation with a grant as cofinancing of the Direct Electron Detecting Camera for the Titan Krios microscope.

The project has also received funding from the Novo Nordisk Foundation as wells as the Lundbeck Foundation.

For more information, please contact

Professor Poul Nissen
Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics
Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO)
Aarhus University, Denmark
pn@mbg.au.dk - +45 2899 2295