ETH: “A new era in biomedicine”

ETH Zurich has announced that it has obtained a new state-of-the-art cryo-electron microscopy device, is modernizing its existing equipment, and has established the Professorship of Cryo-Electron Microscopy, which will enable the leading Swiss science and technology university to further develop in the area of biomedical research.

Proteins play a central role in almost all biological processes. They are often very sensitive compounds, continually changing their form in cells, and cannot be examined using a conventional electron microscope without causing changes in the structure that affect the validity of the measurements. The development of the cryo-electron microscope is thus a huge breakthrough for biochemical and medical research. The technology enables proteins to be examined in their actual form down to the atomic structure, thereby allowing their mechanism of action to be better understood. Cryo-electron microscopy can be combined with other methods to more closely examine how processes in healthy and sick cells differ from one another.

To enable researchers at ETH to pursue biomedical insights, the NOMIS Foundation is funding the professorship in cooperation with the Monique Dornonville de la Cour Foundation and other private donors.