Visualizing macromolecular assemblies, in different functional states, provides unique information on how they work in the cell and how they fail in the diseased state, and therefore can guide us in the design and improvement of therapies. But their small size and sensitivity to radiation makes visualization of biological molecules challenging and requires employment of highly specialized instruments and computational tools.
Technological developments in the field of cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) are now allowing the fast turn-around of structural information on critical cellular components. As an example, I will talk about what we have learned, through the visualization at atomic resolution using cryo-EM, about microtubules, critical cytoskeletal polymers that are essential for cell division and a major anticancer target.
Eva Nogales did her BS in physics in Madrid, PhD in biophysics at Keele, and postdoc at LBNL where she rose to senior faculty scientist in 2008. She is also an HHMI Investigator, headed the Biophysics Graduate Program ('12-'15), and today heads the Berkeley Cryo-EM facility BACEM. Notable awards include Distinguished Role Model in the Life Sciences and election to both AAAS and the NAS, and is currently assoc editor of the Journal of Structural Biology.