Center for Molecular Microscopy

The goal of the Center for Molecular Microscopy (CMM) is to apply emerging technologies for 3D electron microscopy to problems of fundamental interest in cancer and HIV/AIDS biology.

The CMM collaboratory is focused on using new, state-of-the-art technologies in 3D electron microscopy for high impact biological research.  We work with colleagues in CCR and elsewhere to apply these technologies to key biological problems that require high resolution, 3D imaging by electron microscopy.

The collaboratory research is divided into two areas: molecular imaging by High-Resolution Imaging (cryo-EM), and Volume Electron Microscopy (FIB-SEM) and related technologies. Research in the collaboratory is primarily driven by biological questions but is supported by complementary research into methods and new technologies for high-resolution imaging with electron microscopy.

Primary areas of research interest for the High-Resolution Imaging (cryo-EM) section include structure determination of membrane integral and small protein complexes involved in signaling and cancer metabolism. The Volume Electron Microscopy (FIB-SEM) section focuses on the ultrastructure of cells and tissues, with an emphasis on cell-cell interactions, cell motility, and structural aspects of cellular metabolism.


Instruments used for research at the CMM include a Titan Krios transmission electron microscope equipped with K2 and Falcon direct detectors, and a Zeiss CrossBeam 540 focused ion beam scanning electron microscope. In addition, the CMM also houses a variety of ancillary microscopes and equipment to support specimen preparation and characterization. Computation support for image processing and reconstruction is provided by High-Performance Computing at the NIH.

Those interested in working with the collaboratory can submit a research proposal to the CMM, or contact us directly.

Contact information:

High-Resolution Imaging Group Leader: Ulrich Baxa, Ph.D.

VolumeEM Group Leader: Kedar Narayan, Ph.D.