Thomas Jefferson University Research Magazine



Scientific discovery is often the product of a delicate dance between intellectual insight and technological capabilities. It is a synergistic cycle of advancement where the desire to test a research hypothesis may motivate the creation of a new technology, and the new technical capacity yields unanticipated opportunities for wider discovery. And one of the most important drivers of new knowledge is the development of technologies for viewing biology’s fundamental building blocks: the atoms and molecules that comprise living cells.

Since late 2020, Jefferson researchers have been using one of the most powerful devices for “seeing” molecular structures at the atomic level: Cryo-Electron Microscopy (Cryo-EM). The development of Cryo-EM reflects the convergence of technological skill and biomedical purpose. And at Jefferson the device will create opportunities across a broad spectrum—from basic biology discovery research to applications in materials science and textile engineering.