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2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry: Cryo-electron Microscopy

Congratulations to Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank, and Richard Henderson, who have received the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for developing cryo-electron microscopy, a technique that allows scientists to visualize the structural details of biological molecules and gain insights into how living systems function.

Cryo-electron microscopy has seen a number of breakthroughs in recent years, including important public health discoveries such as the structure of the Zika virus.

Shown here are structures of ryanodine receptor from the Frank lab (PDB ID 5T15, EMDB ID EMD-8342) and beta-galactosidase from the Henderson lab (PDB ID 4CKD, EMDB ID EMD-2548) :

In a recent perspective, Jacques Dubochet, while sharing thoughts on the technical aspects that have allowed this technique to evolve, emphasized the power of cryoelectron microcopy in his concluding remark:

"Yes, seeing is understanding!"

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National Institutes of Health
National Institute of General Medical Sciences

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