Cryo-Electron Microscopy

We use cryo-electron microscopy to answer questions about the form and function of biological "machines" that play key roles in human health and disease.

About Us

Advances in microscope technology and computing have paved the way for cryo-electron microscopy to move structural biology into a new era — allowing scientists to study the form and function of biological "machines" that are too large to study using X-ray crystallography.

The U-M Life Sciences Institute is home to a world-class electron microscopy facility, with state-of-the-art instruments and faculty specializing in this emerging field.

New funding through the U-M Biosciences Initiative will enable the university to become an international leader in the field and a premier destination for cryo-EM research and training. With this funding, the cryo-EM program is expanding into new technologies and developing additional educational and training opportunities to bring the technique to labs across campus, as well as to the growing ranks of practitioners across the world.


Alex Rizo, Ph.D., joined the LSI cryo-EM team in February 2023. Alex was a Chemical Biology graduate student in Dan Southworth’s group at the LSI before transitioning to UCSF with Southworth for her remaining time in graduate school. Alex used single-particle cryo-EM to study AAA+ motors to understand their mechanism as disaggregases and unfoldases. While at UCSF, Alex was also involved with the COVID structural biology research group, QCRG. Alex completed post-doctoral studies at Cornell in Liz Kellogg’s group examining CRISPR-associated transposons. At the LSI, Alex will help to ensure that cryo-EM is accessible to researchers within and outside of the LSI.

Vinson Lam, Ph.D., joined the LSI cryo-EM team in September 2022. Vinson studied bacterial cell biology at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). While there, he helped to troubleshoot EM instruments, develop streamlined sample preparation protocols and improve cryo-FIB-ET automation at the UCSD cryo-EM facility. At the LSI, Vinson will help make cryo-EM accessible to researchers across campus. 

We want to help researchers at U-M perform the best structural biology possible.

Use our access form to submit a brief description of the sample you would like to visualize. Based on your request, our faculty will schedule one-on-one meetings to discuss strategies.

Participants attending the LSI's Cryo-EM Workshop
Find protocols, tutorials, and connect with members of the U-M cryo-EM community.
The Cryo-EM facility uses MiCores/iLab to schedule time on the microscopes.