Hyderabad: Cryo-electron microscopy inaugurated at CSIR-CCMB

Cryo-electron microscopy inaugurated at CSIR-CCMB

Cryo-electron microscopy inaugurated at CSIR-CCMB


Hyderabad becomes second city to host facility

Hyderabad: A cutting-edge facility for cryo-electron microscopy was inaugurated by Dr Shekhar Mande, Director-General, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB)on Friday.

A release said, with this facility, Hyderabad is the second city in the country to host a modern cryo-electron microscopy facility. Such a facility allows scientists to look at the matter to its atomic details. A close look at molecules, such as proteins, has been at the forefront of understanding the structural details of living cells and drug discovery.

In the last two years, such insights have enabled scientists and pharmaceutical industries to understand the Corona virus and find potential cures. "The modern cryo-electron microscopy facility is expected to help us view the functioning of several molecular machines that operate in the cell that was earlier not amenable to conventional structure determination methods such as X-ray crystallography or Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR)," said Dr Rajan Sankaranarayanan, an eminent structural biologist at CCMB.

"The facility on CCMB's campus is funded by the CSIR. It will be accessible to researchers in CCMB, other CSIR labs as well as in other research institutes and universities. It will also be available to the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, of which Hyderabad is a major hub. The facility has been largely built in CCMB in the last two years during Covid pandemic, thanks to our in-house teams," said Dr Vinay K Nandicoori, Director, CCMB. This facility will allow working with samples at cryogenic temperatures, around -173 degrees C, and photographing individual molecules using the electron microscope. This, in addition to the confocal microscopy, NMR spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction facilities at CCMB, makes it a formidable facility for researchers to look into details of living cells like never before.

"Structural biology techniques have advanced greatly in the last four decades. From needing a year to collect and make sense of each data point to doing it in a few seconds now, the power is enormous.

The chasm between structural and cellular biology is diminishing, and this will allow addressing some of the very fundamental and exciting problems of biology with techniques like cryo-electron microscopy," said Dr Shekhar Mande, Director-General, CSIR.

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