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Peeking into the microcosmos: Team uses cryo-EM to study cells at near-atomic levels


Junjie Zhang and his team at Texas A&M AgriLife are employing cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to study cellular structures. This technology involves freezing biological samples to capture high-resolution images, enabling researchers to examine cellular machinery at near-atomic resolution.

Cryo-EM provides detailed visualization of biological specimens while preserving their natural state. This method is used in fields such as virology, bacteriology and cellular biology. Unlike traditional electron microscopy, which can damage delicate samples, cryo-EM maintains their integrity.

Zhang, professor of biochemistry and biophysics, focuses on revealing the atomic structure of proteins and other macromolecules, providing insights into cellular function and disease mechanisms. This information could be useful in developing new treatments and therapies, especially for conditions where other imaging techniques are less effective.