About Us


The goal of the Center for Molecular Microscopy (CMM) is to apply emerging technologies for 3D electron microscopy to problems of fundamental interest in cancer and HIV/AIDS biology.


The CMM collaboratory is focused on using new, state-of-the-art technologies in 3D electron microscopy for high impact biological research.  We work with colleagues in CCR and elsewhere to apply these technologies to key biological problems that require high resolution, 3D imaging by electron microscopy.

The collaboratory research is divided into two areas: molecular imaging by high resolution cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), and cellular imaging by focused ion beam scanning electron microscopy (FIB-SEM) and related technologies. Research in the collaboratory is primarily driven by biological questions, but is supported by complementary research into methods and new technologies for high resolution imaging with electron microscopy.

Primary areas of research interest for the cryo-EM section include structure determination of membrane integral and small protein complexes involved in signaling and cancer metabolism. The FIB-SEM section focuses on the ultrastructure of cells and tissues, with an emphasis on cell-cell interactions, cell motility, and structural aspects of cellular metabolism.

Those interested in working with the collaboratory can submit a research proposal to the CMM, or contact us directly.

Technology Development and Membrane Signaling

This component of the CMM is a partnership between the Subramaniam lab at the Bethesda campus and the Frederick National Laboratory Ras Initiative (headed by Frank McCormick, UCSF). The research in this half of CMM is overseen by co-directors Sriram Subramaniam (CCR) and Dwight Nissley (Leidos Biomedical, Inc).


Instruments used for research at the CMM include a Titan Krios transmission electron microscope and Zeiss NVision and CrossBeam 540 focused ion beam scanning electron microscopes. In addition, the CMM also houses a variety of equipment to support specimen preparation and characterization.

Automachine with GroEL structure