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Umeå Core Facility for Electron Microscopy (UCEM)

UCEM logo posUmeå Core Facility for Electron Microscopy or UCEM is a joint resource for research and higher education in electron microscopy techniques.

The Core Facility is a USER facility for structural and chemical characterization of materials at micro- and nanometer length scales. The aims of the Core Facility are (1) providing high-quality service and technical in scanning and transmission electron microscopy, (2) conducting basic and practical courses, workshops and training on electron microscopy, and (3) assisting in cross-disciplinary research activities on the development and applications of advanced methodologies in electron microscopy and microanalysis.

UCEM provides instruments and methods in Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) as a national research infrastructure. UCEM is an interdisciplinary core facility for imaging and advanced Electron Microscopy (EM). UCEM houses six EM instruments, imaging and sample preparation equipment as well as computer infrastructure and software for image processing. The facility staff provides service and training to users in new user-friendly labs, where students and scientists can perform advanced sample preparation, imaging and image analyzes.

The Zeiss SEMs, Merlin and Evo, offer high-resolution surface imaging, with multiple detector systems operating under cryo, room temperature or heated conditions. Correlative Light and Electron Microscopy (CLEM) solutions for finding the precise location of a target proteins or structure of interest simplifying localization and high-resolution imaging of the same sample. The FEI Scios DualBeam is a unique upgrade instrument in Umeå, combining SEM with a Focused Ion Beam (FIB) for micro-manipulation, volume imaging through Slice & View methodology and thin lamella preparation for subsequent TEM analyses.

The TEM instruments Jeol 1230 and FEI Talos L120 offer ideal TEM solutions for entry level and sample screening, electron tomography and CLEM. Service at UCEM also includes cell and tissue fixation, resin embedding, ultra microtome sectioning, Tokuyasu sectioning, immunolabeling and staining techniques.

Cryo-EM is the method of choice for visualization of hydrated proteins, viruses, cells and small organisms. Samples are plunge frozen in liquid ethane, preserved in amorphous ice and imaged under cryo-condition with our high end TEM: FEI Titan Krios 300 kV, with autoloader for cryo samples, a phase plate for contrast enhancement and two direct electron detectors, Falcon3 and K2 BioQuantum. Single particle reconstruction is used for structure biology and cryo-electron tomography is used to study e.g. membrane complexes and subcellular volumes in 3D.

Together with the Biochemical Imaging Centre Umeå (BICU), UCEM provides CLEM imaging support as part of the National Microscopy Infrastructure (NMI).

The cryo-EM facility is a SciLilfeLab node with focus on electron tomography and part of CryoNet, a Swedish-Danish partnership. With support from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation and the Novo Nordisk Foundation, scientists at four universities in Sweden and Denmark will join forces to create this Nordic network in cryoelectron microscopy.

The establishment of an advanced EM facility in Umeå was made possible through funding by the Swedish Research Council, Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation and the Kempe Foundations.

The major financial contributions to the Core Facility are Laboratory for Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS), Umeå Centre for Microbial Research (UCMR), Chemical Biological Centre (KBC), Umeå Plant Science Centre (UPSC), Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Science and Technology, Västerbotten County Council, Kempe Foundation and Berzelius Centre for Forest Biotechnology.

Linda Sandblad, MIMS Team leader

Director of UCEM
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Visit the website of UCEM for more information

playMore information about the National cyro-EM facility at SciLifeLab and Umeå University

playMore information about CryoNet

Emmanuelle Charpentier took the Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Emmanuelle has been awarded jointly with Jennifer Doudna the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for discovering the groundbreaking CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology. She is a former group leader at MIMS, honorary doctor at Umeå University and former visiting professor at UCMR.

Movie by Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (

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