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The Institute of Molecular Genetics of the ASCR and TESCAN Launch Joint Research Initiative

publication date: May 27, 2021
author/source: TESCAN



Collaboration between scientists and technologists helps to advance cryo-electron microscopy and life sciences research

TESCAN ORSAY HOLDING a.s. announces a joint research collaboration agreement between the Institute of Molecular Genetics of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (IMG AS CR) and leading scientific instrumentation companies in Europe.

Observing viruses or proteins in detail has been the dream of scientists world-wide for years. Today, cryo-electron microscopy is capable of imaging cellular structures at almost atomic resolution, enabling a better understanding of the chemical bonds and functioning of living organisms. Led by TESCAN, this collaboration agreement will help to continue the advancement of cryo-electron microscopy in life sciences.


New Knowledge Will be Available for Other Scientists

"I am glad that, thanks to this partnership, we have the opportunity to influence the development of top scientific instruments so that they best correspond to practical use," said Petr Dráber, director of IMG AS CR. "Scientific achievements are usually not driven by individuals, but by entire expert teams who can work together effectively and share experiences."

The joint research initiative will emphasize collaboration and knowledge sharing through scientific workshops, journal publications, application insight, as well as other intense cooperation with the wider scientific community.

"User feedback is very important for the development of our electron microscopes and we check it regularly. However, this cooperation is exceptional in that we can be directly part of the team of Professor Pavel Hozák, who is a world leader in his field," said Ondřej Šulák, director of product marketing for the Life Sciences segment at TESCAN. “Thanks to the project, TESCAN will have the opportunity to optimize existing sample preparation procedures and develop new techniques, which it will also directly test in practice. The partnership will be concluded by the end of 2021 with the probable possibility of extension.”


The Institute Uses a New Electron Microscope

Since the start of 2021, scientists from IMG have been using the new TESCAN AMBER cryo-electron microscope in their laboratories, lent to them by the Brno technology holding TESCAN as part of a scientific partnership. The microscope is specially adapted for the observation of biological samples at temperatures around −160 degrees Celsius, which makes it possible to preserve the internal structures of cells. Laboratory equipment, lent to the institute by LEICA Microsystems, is used for the preparation and freezing of slides. The mutual cooperation goes beyond the provision of equipment and IMG established a joint scientific research project to further deepen the scientific research collaboration with both companies.


New Technologies Make It Possible to Better Understand Cell Biology

"We will focus on deepening knowledge about the structures of the cell nucleus that ensure the regulation of gene transcription into RNA. We have found that, in addition to proteins and nucleic acids, some lipids also play a key role in this vital and extremely complicated process. The best tool for the study of lipid structures is the frost method, which will allow their characterization in a fully hydrated state, closest to the native one. The aim of the cooperation is to connect top laboratory equipment manufacturers with the application of their solutions directly in practice," said Pavel Hozák, head of the cell biology department and director of the research infrastructure of Czech-BioImaging. 

The equipment for cryo-transmission electron microscopy was acquired thanks to the support of the Ministry of Education for the Czech-BioImaging research infrastructure and the emerging new procedures will be accessible to all researchers and companies.


About the Institute of Molecular Genetics AS CR

Institute of Molecular Genetics AS CR, v. in. i., (IMG) is a public scientific institution, part of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, conducting research in the field of molecular, structural and cell biology, immunology, functional genomics and bioinformatics. The main priority of IMG is basic research activities, the output of which are mainly scientific publications in prestigious international journals. Equally important is applied research and transfer of results into practice. An important part of IMG are service groups and modern national research infrastructures (Czech-BioImaging, Czech Center for Phenogenomics, CZ-OPENSCREEN and ELIXIR CZ), which ensure optimal use of sophisticated instruments and provide a basis for developing new tools and methods used by the scientific community not only in within IMG, but also by other research institutes or laboratories in the Czech Republic and abroad.


TESCAN enables its customers to research and analyze in nano resolution. Its solutions are used in geosciences, materials sciences, the semiconductor industry and life sciences. The company has a 30-year history of developing innovative electron microscopes, microtomographs and related software solutions for users in research and industry. Through its efforts, TESCAN has gained a leading position in micro- and nanotechnologies.

TESCAN ORSAY HOLDING was founded in 2013 as a result of long-term expansion and the establishment of subsidiaries around the world, including the French company OR-SAY PHYSICS, a world leader in ion and electron beam technology. TESCAN ORSAY HOLDING maintains its headquarters, production, research and development in Brno. Each TESCAN microscope is professionally manufactured in Brno and delivered to customers all over the world.

About Czech-BioImaging

Czech-BioImaging's National Infrastructure for Biological and Medical Imaging provides open access to a wide range of imaging technologies and expertise to obtain completely new scientific data. At the same time, it increases the qualifications of researchers and students in this field through educational programs. The Czech-BioImaging research infrastructure responds to imaging needs at various levels - from imaging of organisms, tissues and cells to imaging of cell organelles, transport, biomolecules and their interactions in health and disease. The Czech-BioImaging research infrastructure is a member of the pan-European research infrastructure Euro-BioImaging. Czech-BioImaging activities are supported by the Ministry of Education (LM 2018129, No. CZ.02.1.01 / 0.0 / 0.0 / 16_013 / 0001775 and No. CZ.02.1.01 / 0.0 / 0.0 / 18_046 / 0016045).



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