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Advancing Interdisciplinary Research

Yale’s outstanding cryo-ET infrastructure and strong record of impactful cryo-ET research greatly impact the breadth of research in the Liu lab and across campus. We combine cryo-ET, cryo-EM, and cryo-FIB to address longstanding and essential questions in modern biology – as well as to advance highly interdisciplinary work. Our cryo-ET workflow has enabled a remarkable array of discoveries in structural biology, microbiology, cell biology, and neuroscience.

As part of Yale’s rapidly growing and diversifying cryo-FIB/EM/ET community as well as the Microbial Sciences Institute, the Liu lab is committed to exploring new sample preparation techniques as soon as they become available. We regularly collaborate to share our expertise in advanced applications of cryo-FIB/ET with colleagues across many academic departments at regional symposia, workshops, journal clubs, and in the lab. Overall, we hope to continue building a stronger cryo-EM/ET community for the development and dissemination of state-of-the-art methods relevant to various scientific fields.

Cryo-FIB/EM/ET Applications

As these cutting-edge techniques are rapidly evolving, training is central to the development of the next generation of scientists. Yale offers an array of cryo-EM/ET training programs and to continue building cross-disciplinary bridges among biologists, physicists, and computer scientists.

Faculty, students, and postdocs may contact the Liu lab to learn more about cryo-FIB/fLM instruments and potential applications to advance their research projects. Many members of our lab have been trained to operate cryo-FIB/fLM instruments, resulting in multiple publications (e.g., Huang et al., Nature 2021; Xiang et al., Cell 2021). Comprehensive and systematic training on cryo-FIB includes system preparation, grid loading, target selection, rough milling, final polishing, and grid unloading and storing. This FIB/SEM system supports many interdisciplinary projects across campus.

The following diverse projects highlight junior scientists, including students and postdocs, involved in cryo-FIB operation:

Visualization of Legionella pneumophila using cryo-FIB and cryo-ET.
Visualization of Pseudomonas aeruginosa using cryo-Em, Krios, and FIB.
  • VPS13C and lipid transport - Shujun Cai, De Camilli lab
  • mechanismof host defense - Shiwei Zhu, MacMicking lab
  • replication of RNA viruses - Benjamin Götte, Pyle lab
  • HIV-host interaction - Wei Zheng and Shuai Yuan, Xiong lab
  • nuclear envelope sealing mechanisms - Nick Ader, King and Lusk labs.