Cryo-EM School

Demand for skilled staff

Recent advances in cryo-Electron Microscopy are transforming the field of structural biology. The technology is now rapidly expanding to new user groups, both in academia and in the pharmaceutical industry. This has resulted in a significant demand for highly trained and skilled operators and specialists.


Various institutes offer short courses in sample preparation, data acquisition or data processing, serving as introductions to the field. However, in practice, a gap still exists between the knowledge and experience level that is required to successfully operate the instruments and the education on offer.


Therefore, an academic team at NECEN/Leiden University (Koster Lab) and at CNB-CSIC (Carazo Lab), together with industrial partner Thermo Fischer (formerly FEI) started an initiative to organize an in-depth cryo-EM school with an estimated duration of 6 months.


The ultimate aim of the final curriculum is to become full independent practitioner in the single particle analysis (SPA) cryo-EM workflow, from sample preparation and data collection to reconstruction and molecular modelling. The target groups will be able to achieve full proficiency in cryo-EM workflows, become independent researchers on cryo-EM in structural biology or run cryo-electron microscopy facilities. At the beginning 2017 we will pilot the first part of the curriculum to reach the level of independent proficiency of cryo-EM worflows.

Pilot programme in January 2017

An extensive 9-week pilot was organized at NECEN in Leiden (The Netherlands), with support from CNB-CSIC, for which we have five (5) open seats. The participants were the first to receive this unique intensive full hands-on course into SPA. This 9-week programm trained participants to the level of independent practitioners in the single particle analysis (SPA) cryo-EM workflow.

Pilot course program

The pilot will took 9 weeks, full time, with a longer break in between.


Week 1  (16 Jan - 20 Jan) - Introduction and Sample Preparation
Week 2 (23 Jan - 27 Jan) - Image formation and Basic processing
Week 3 (30 Jan - 3 Feb) - Optics and Optimal Microscope Setup
Week 4 (6 Feb-10 Feb) - Camera’s and Optimal Settings
Week 5 (13 Feb-17Jan) - Data Collection

Break (20 Feb-24 Feb)
Week 6 (27 Feb-3 Mar) - Sample Screening and Tomography
Week 7 (6 Mar-10 Mar) - Full Workflow
Week 8 (13 Mar-17 Mar) - Advanced Processing and Validation
Week 9 (20 Mar-24 Mar) - Exam


The course was  concluded with a final test and participants received a certificate of completion.


The training school will be organized by the two academic partners:

  • NeCEN, the Dutch open access facility for high resolution cryo-EM, hosted by Leiden University and the Leiden University Medical Center. Leading PI is Prof. Bram Koster.
  • The Biocomputing Unit of the Spanish National Center for Biotechnology (CNB). Leading PI is Prof. Jose-Maria Carazo.

The academic partners are primarily responsible for the course content.


Thermo Fischer is involved as industrial partner for financial support and microscope operation/instruction. Attendance and sponsoring to the degree of a non-profit reduced fee of 50.000 Euro will be arranged through Thermo Fischer.


Contact Matthijn Vos at Included in the course are: 9 weeks instruction consisting predominantly of full hands-on Titan Krios instruction, (digital) course materials, use of a workstation (laptop), lodging, lunches, and use of a bike.

Participants and registration

If you are interested to participate in future courses, please send an email to

More information

For more information, please contact Eline Huisjes (ms. E.H. Huisjes,