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Cryo-Electron Microscopy Facility

Creating super high-definition 3D images of atoms and molecules

A joint venture between the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences and the Materials Research Institute, the Cryo-Electron Microscopy Facility houses a one-of-a-kind FEI Titan Krios microscope that offers uncompromised data collection for the life sciences while incorporating materials science applications. Specifically, the facility allows for fully-automated atomic-resolution single-particle and high-contrast tomography tilt-series data collection. Additional microscopy components permit a full range of materials science applications, including EELS, STEM, and DPC.


Biochemist selected as Innovation Fund investigator by Pew Charitable Trusts

Katsuhiko Murakami, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State, has been selected as a member of the 2023 class of Innovation Fund investigators by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Essential process for SARS-CoV-2 viral replication visualized

During the replication of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, a long string of connected proteins is cleaved apart into individual proteins. This process is interrupted by an FDA-approved drug to treat COVID-19; however, the mechanistic details of this cleavage process are still unclear. Now, a team led by researchers at Penn State has produced the most detailed images to date of this process, revealing that these proteins are cleaved in a consistent order likely dictated by the structure of the protein string.

How does an aging-associated enzyme access our genetic material?

New research provides insight into how an enzyme that helps regulate aging and other metabolic processes accesses our genetic material to modulate gene expression within the cell. A team led by Penn State researchers have produced images of a sirtuin enzyme bound to a nucleosome — a tightly packed complex of DNA and proteins called histones — showing how the enzyme navigates the nucleosome complex to access both DNA and histone proteins and clarifying how it functions in humans and other animals.

DNA stuck in the gears of the RNA production machine

Precise control of gene expression — ensuring that cells make the correct components in the right amount and at the right time — is vital for all organisms to function properly. Cells must regulate how genes encoded in the sequence of DNA are made into RNA molecules that can carry out cellular functions on their own or be further processed into proteins.