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A World Leading Facility for Multiscale Bio-imaging

The Laboratory of BioMolecular Structure will be a cryo-electron microscope center whose mission is to dramatically accelerate our understanding of processes underlying diseases and fundamental molecular structures — knowledge that will lead to faster and more effective treatments. The LBMS benefits from a location close to the world leading imaging and structural biology user facilities at NSLS-II.


Many of the recent advances in medicine, drug development, and biotechnology have been made possible by our ability to study and understand biological processes at the molecular level. Understanding the internal workings of protein structures and macromolecular complexes has enabled fundamental insights into the cause of a wide range of diseases. Electron microscopy and x-ray diffraction will be key techniques for deepening our knowledge about these complex multi-component systems and their inner workings.

molecular complex

Due to new and improved capabilities of cryo-electron microscopy, we can resolve large and complex molecular structures in greater detail. These new developments have inspired a new wave of studies on biological systems, which have been inaccessible by other structural and bio-imaging techniques. By using these new capabilities, we expect a deluge of new structures to reveal fascinating insights into functions and relationships of various molecular complexes and machines.


Resolving the overall structure of large multi-protein complexes using cryo-electron microscopy is only one part to fully understanding the vital processes they perform. Establishing the laboratory next to Brookhaven’s National Synchrotron Light Source II, a world-leading x-ray source and home to a vibrant structural biology community, will create an opportunity to understand biological systems in a whole new dimension. The combination of these advanced research facilities offer a versatile set of complementary techniques to study biological systems.

Available to the Research Community

Rendering of LBMS building

Artist's rendering of the Laboratory of BioMolecular Structure extension building (right) at NSLS-II.


We will offer high-resolution data collection for single particle work, molecular tomography electron microscopy and cellular tomography electron microscopy. Approved projects will have access to a 300 keV electron microscope. Additionally, these projects will have access to various sample preparation facilities as well as expertise in data treatment and analysis resources. For pre-screening of samples a screening microscope will be available. 


Two modes of access will be available: Data Collection Access for investigators who have samples suitable for high resolution data collection and can provide various supporting evidence; and Screening Access for projects without evidence of sample suitability for high-resolution single particle work. This includes those projects with evidence of sample purity and monodispersity or with good EM images of negatively stained samples. Access will be granted based on recommendations of a peer review panel.


A wide range of training opportunities will be available starting with day-to-day coaching; help in sample preparation, and data collection. All Projects have a scientific contact assigned to assist and mentor all phases of data collection, data processing, scientific analysis. Further training and advanced workshops with world-leading experts will be offered to users to enable autonomous access.