Cryo-electron Microscopy Guiding Novel Treatments at The Hospital for Sick Children

October 16, 2023 2 min read

Dr. John Rubinstein standing in his Cryo-EM facility.


About the Hospital for Sick Children 

The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), affiliated with the University of Toronto, is Canada’s most research-intensive hospital dedicated to improving the health of children in the country. 

SickKids is more than just a hospital, it is an integrated centre with the goal of providing the best in child and family-centered care, creating ground-breaking clinical and scientific advancements, and training the next generation of experts in child health. 


The Role of Cryo-electron Microscopy

As an increasingly popular structural biology technique, Cryo-EM allows high-quality imaging across a range of scales from proteins up to entire cellular structures with cryo-tomography. A lot of these are highly critical systems that make up biofilms difficult to treat bacterial infections or viral structures like the coronavirus spike protein. 

SickKids is efficiently leveraging this groundbreaking technology in their state-of-the-art Cryo-EM facility. In Conversation with Dr.John Rubinstein, he explores how molecular insights are shaping medical research and treatment. He further states that for many of the problems that SickKids and their collaborators are working on, cryo-EM is the only method that would give atomic-resolution insight into the structures being studied at the time. 



 The Need for Deeper Structural Insights 

Globally, the Hospital for Sick Children was the first institution to acquire the recently launched  Thermo Scientific Glacios 2 Cryo-TEM, which they use in conjunction with a Thermo Scientific Krios Cryo-TEM to speed up their entire data collection process.

The Glacios 2 Cryo-TEM is used to collect small sample datasets and quickly identify how to best optimize specimen preparation. When optimal specimens are identified during screening they are transferred to the Krios Cryo-TEM for final, high-quality data collection. This workflow enables rapid specimen optimization and consistent production of publication-quality data.

Through the highly collaborative nature of the Cryo-EM Facility, researchers throughout the Toronto area are able to see diseases at the most fundamental level, guiding the development of wholly novel treatments.


SFR’s commitment to Research and Innovation 

As Canada’s largest source of surface characterization and analysis tools, Systems for Research strives to deliver research and innovation to researchers and scientists for their ongoing needs every single day. We have been collaborating with universities, industry, and health science institutions for over 30 years, to offer an array of cutting-edge scientific instrumentation and provide greater visibility into the molecular world.

Above all, SFR is proud to offer service and support for Thermo Fisher Scientific Electron Microscopes across Canada. Our in-house service team situated across Canada provides clients with uninterrupted and on-going local support for their research needs. SFR will continue to support the amazing work SickKids is doing everyday and support their future endeavors.