New microscope at Hormel Institute

AUSTIN, Minn- Scientists from all over Minnesota gathered at the Hormel Institute to learn about a new piece of equipment at the cancer research center.

This year, the Hormel Institute installed a $5 million Cryo-Electron microscope.

Hormel Institute associate professor Anna Sundborger said the microscope is unique to the Midwest.

“It basically gives you the opportunity to look at proteins inside the cell at really high resolutions,” said Sundborger. “You can look at atoms.”

Sundborger said the cancer research center will use the microscope to take pictures of protein complexes, which control what happens in a cell, with an end goal of designing new cancer drugs.

“We’re trying to basically cure cancer here,” said Sundborger. “We use this machine to get these 3D reconstructions of proteins that are involved in cancer development to then design special chemicals to bind to these structures to prevent them from working or facilitate them to work better or whatever the problem is in your specific type of cancer.”

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