We are requesting funds in partial support of a biennial workshop to be hosted by the National Resource for Automated Molecular Microscopy, in November 2012 and November 2014. This continuing workshop builds on a well-established and very successful series (held in November 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009) that has had a high impact on the community of scientists using molecular microcopy as a structural technique. The primary objective of the workshop is to provide a venue for focused discussion of the most pressing technical challenges facing the field of molecular microscopy. The workshop brings together senior thought leaders, new investigators pursuing novel approaches, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, established investigators in others fields, industrial partners, and other interested parties, in an intensive week of learning, interaction and discussion. The workshop presentations, in the form of slides and audio files, are disseminated via a web site to the general community, which substantially increases the impact of the workshop beyond the one week duration and the ~140 participants.
Electron microscopy (EM) is now established as an essential tool for studying macromolecular machines that are central to cellular function, and thus has a basic and fundamental relevance for both the healthy and diseased states. This workshop, which is focused on discussing the challenges that still limit the method from reaching its full potential, serves a unique role, both pedagogically and in moving the entire field forward.