We propose to establish a National Service Center for Cryo-Electron Tomography to be hosted in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Midwest Center for Cryo-Electron Tomography (MCCET) will support investigators by providing access to well-trained staff and state-of-the-art equipment for (1) routine and advanced cryo-ET specimen preparation, and (2) hands-on and virtual training in cryo-ET specimen preparation and validation. MCCET operations will build on the Cryo-EM Research Center established in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison). UW- Madison has a long history of institutional commitment to electron microscopy, as well as the advancement of electron microscopy in both the biological and materials sciences. The ancillary equipment and major instrumentation to be housed in the MCCET will be cell culture equipment, a fluorescence light microscope and micropatterning system, glow discharge devices, carbon evaporator, automated plunge freezer, high pressure freezer, cryo-ultramicrotome, and a cryo-focused ion beam-scanning electron microscope (cryo-FIB-SEM). Dr. Elizabeth R. Wright, the contact PI, has over twenty-years of cryo-EM experience including the development of new cryo-EM technologies and workflows along with directing and managing (cryo-)electron microscopy research resources. Drs. Marisa Otegui, Robert Kirchdoerfer, and Tim Grant bring complementary expertise in sample preservation and imaging of complex tissues, small molecules and organelles, imaging and computational technology development, as well as facility management. A Center Manager, two cryo-ET training instructors, a postdoctoral research associate, a computer scientist/systems administrator, and an administrative assistant will manage MCCET day-to-day operations and support users through the course of their projects from initial access, sample handling and preparation, sample validation, cross-training, and coordination with the ?Hub? for cryo-ET data collection. The Midwest Center for Cryo-Electron Tomography (MCCET) will maintain a culture of innovation and technology development in cryo-ET to facilitate improvements to cryo-ET sample preparation, throughput, validation, and imaging. The MCCET will be a user experience-focused resource that will provide access and training to researchers across many disciplines.
We propose to establish the Midwest Center for Cryo-Electron Tomography (MCCET) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The MCCET will provide national and international access to state-of-the-art equipment and well-trained technical staff to support the growing need for cryo-ET of biological specimens from isolated macromolecules to tissue from organisms. The MCCET will enable researchers to prepare specimens suitable for cryo-ET data acquisition and to train and cross-train in a broad-range of cryo-ET workflows.