Sample Preparation Services

Preparing Cryo-EM Samples

The Cryo-EM shared resource is equipped with standard sample-preparation instruments used in negative stain and cryogenic electron microscopy grid generation. Our team provides sample preparation services as well as training in these techniques. We consult with users looking to optimize freezing conditions and overcome challenges, such as preferred orientation and low particle density. 

To request services or training, please refer to our rates and scheduling page.
 

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Training  |  Services  |   Equipment

Schedule With Us

To schedule training or a consultation with the Cryo-EM shared resource, or to get more information about how we can work with you, contact the Cryo-EM lead:

Caleigh Azumaya, Ph.D.
Facility Manager

Training

Cryo-EM Training

We provide structured training for both newcomers and users with previous experience in single-particle electron microscopy analysis. We review electron microscope safety, negative staining, carbon coating and cryo-EM grid-freezing protocols in a one-on-one format. Users can schedule recommended buffer conditions and troubleshooting consultations with core staff as needed. We grant users independent-use status and door access to the cryo-EM laboratory space after they pass proficiency tests at the end of each training section.

Users have access to:

  • Two-part negative stain bench training
  • Three-part Vitrobot training
Researcher training another researcher on a piece of scientific equipment
Dr. Betty Shen sets up for a grid freezing session at the Vitrobot Mark IV station. Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

Services

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Thin Carbon Coating of Grids

We provide thin carbon coating of grids for negative-stain or cryo-EM studies. The standard turnaround time to coat negative-stain or cryo-EM grids with a thin layer of carbon is five business days. 

Negative Staining

We provide negative staining services for single-particle samples provided by users. Sample handoff must be scheduled at least 48 hours in advance. Users must provide samples and buffers.

Researcher negative staining
We offer all supplies for negative-staining grids except grids and samples. Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service
Cryo-EM Grid Freezing

We provide cryo-EM grid-freezing services for single-particle samples provided by users. Sample handoff must be scheduled at least 48 hours in advance. Users must provide grids, samples and buffers.

Clipping and Loading Autogrids

Our staff will clip and load autogrids for use on the Glacios cryo-EM transmission electron microscope. Grid handoff must be scheduled at least 24 hours in advance.

Researcher working with equipment
Dr. Caleigh Azumaya clips and loads autogrids for screening and data collection in the Glacios microscope. Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service
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Equipment

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Negative-Stain Bench

The negative-stain bench provides users with everything needed to make and stain their own sample for electron microscopy. This includes core-provided tweezers, uranyl formate stain, continuous carbon grids and grid boxes for storage, as well as use of the glow discharger and carbon coater.

Related service: Negative staining

Denton BenchTop Turbo Coating System and Glow Discharger

This thin-film deposition system provides full-range, low-voltage thermal carbon evaporation and can produce fine-grained thin films via sputtering. The instrument allows transmission electron microscopy grids to be cleaned in plasma using the AC glow discharge option.

Related service: Thin carbon coating of grids

Scientific piece of equipment
Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service
Thermo Fisher Scientific Mark IV Vitrobot

This instrument supports automated grid vitrification in liquid ethane. Users must provide their own samples and grids; we will provide all other necessary materials and tools.

Related service: Cryo-EM grid freezing

Scientific piece of equipment
Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

Questions about our cryo-EM sample preparation services or how to schedule with us?