UW2020 Project to Support Facility Receives Funding

A UW2020: WARF Discovery Initiative Award to help fund the upcoming cryo-EM facility has received funding. The project is led by biochemistry professor Bob Landick and titled “Bringing the Cryo-electron Microscopy Revolution to UW­–Madison.”

The recent award represents the third round of UW2020 funded projects since the initiative was launched last year. The goal of UW2020 is to stimulate and support cutting edge, highly innovative, and groundbreaking research at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the acquisition of shared instruments or equipment that will open new avenues for innovative and significant research.

Biochemistry professor Bob Landick
Biochemistry professor Bob Landick

“These awards position our faculty to be even more successful as they apply for extramural funding in an increasingly competitive environment,” says Marsha Mailick, UW–Madison Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education. “Innovative ideas like those proposed for UW2020 are critical to maintaining UW–Madison’s world-class research standing, and we are extremely grateful for WARF’s continuing support for this initiative.”

Landick’s project represents a research infrastructure investment by UW-Madison that involves a technology for solving the structure of macromolecules, viruses, and cellular substructures. The process is called cryo-electron microscopy, referred to as cryo-EM. Their UW2020 grant will help create a state-of-the-art cryo-EM facility at UW–Madison and hire a Ph.D.-level staff member to facilitate its use with scientists across campus.

Solving the structure of biological molecules is an important first step in understanding the biology behind basic processes that are essential to life. The data often aid areas such as drug discovery, as researchers can take advantage of structural information to search for possible disease treatments.

“I think cryo-EM has emerged as an indispensable method for structural analysis in the biosciences, and it is not hyperbole to say that it is revolutionizing our understanding of large macromolecular machines,” Landick says. “For UW–Madison to remain a powerhouse in bioscience research, it is crucial that modern cryo-EM capabilities be brought to campus. The UW2020 award is a major step in a broader plan to achieve that goal.”