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Universities unite to establish £6m state-of-the-art centre

A partnership of four Midlands universities has successfully bid to set up a £6m state-of-the-art regional cryo-electron microscopy centre.

It will be based at the University of Leicester whose bid was supported by the universities of Warwick, Nottingham and Birmingham.

A total of £3.7m of the funding has been provided by the Medical Research Council. The four partner universities will provide the remaining funds with a major contribution from the University of Leicester at £1.8m.

The Cryo-EM facility will bring cutting-edge research technologies to the Midlands.

Professor John Schwabe, principal applicant on the bid and director of the Leicester Institute of Structural and Chemical Biology, said: “There is currently a revolution in using Cryo-EM for research in structural biology.

“This award will keep the Leicester Institute of Structural and Chemical Biology at the forefront of the field.”

The facility will be centred around a state-of-the-art 300kV cryo-electron microscope, with the latest generation of direct electron-detecting cameras. A second ‘feeder’ microscope will be based at the University of Warwick.

The Leicester microscope is one of the most powerful instruments of this type and will enable researchers to determine the structure and function of the large molecular machines that carry out the processes of life inside all our cells.

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