Next generation electron detector builds on microscopy capabilities

Dr Georg Ramm.
Dr Georg Ramm.

A next generation electron detector for our world-leading cryo-electron microscopy facility is amongst the Monash proposals funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) scheme.

Minister for Education, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, announced more than $3.94 million to support six proposals across the faculties of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Science, Engineering, and Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, continuing to build on Monash’s world-class network of integrated technology platforms.

Dr Georg Ramm from the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute led a proposal to secure funding for a next generation electron detector within Monash’s leading cryo-electron microscopy centre, which will help address fundamental questions in biology, pharmaceutical science, renewable energy and agriculture.

“The addition of this new generation direct electron detector, the Gatan K3 camera, will generate urgently needed capabilities for cryo electron microscopy at Monash,” Dr Ramm said.

“This project expects to generate highest resolution molecular structures of biological and non-biological materials including pharmacological targets, nanomaterials, and other electron beam-sensitive materials,” he said.

The new technology builds on Monash’s advanced capabilities in optical and electron microscopy through the Ramaciotti Centre for Cryo-EM, which is a co-host to the Microscopy Australia Victorian node with the Monash Centre for Electron Microscopy–which also experienced success through a grant for a triple beam electron microscope led by Dr Amelia Liu.

Provost and Senior Vice-President Professor Marc Parlange said the exceptional LIEF results demonstrated the University’s continued excellence in innovation and collaboration.

“Access to cutting-edge technology is core to innovation and Monash is consistently ranked as the most innovative university in Australia,” Professor Parlange said.

“LIEF funding has been vital for many of our most transformative programs, spanning 3D imaging and remote sensing to nanotechnology and cell biology. The grants announced today will further enhance our ability to deliver internationally competitive research to benefit the community. My warmest congratulations to every Monash researcher who has been successful this year.”

Vice-Provost (Research and Research Infrastructure) Professor Ian Smith also welcomed the news, saying platform technology investments are vital to keeping Australia competitive in a global research landscape.

“Thank you to the ARC - we are grateful Monash's successful LIEF grants are continuing to support and enhance the already thriving and interconnected network of research platforms here at Monash. We remain at the forefront of research discovery as a result of key investments in our infrastructure such as this,” he said.

Overall, Monash-led LIEF grants will support collaborative research with over 16 partner institutions including The University of New South Wales, Deakin University, RMIT University, The Australian National University, The University of Melbourne and the CSIRO. Monash is committed to providing world-class research infrastructure to support its strong research community, collaboration with industry partners and the wider research community, to deliver lasting and positive change in the world.

Read the full Monash media release, view the full list of funded projects, or visit the ARC website for more information on the LIEF scheme.

About the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute

Committed to making the discoveries that will relieve the future burden of disease, the newly established Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute at Monash University brings together more than 120 internationally-renowned research teams. Our researchers are supported by world-class technology and infrastructure, and partner with industry, clinicians and researchers internationally to enhance lives through discovery.