Expanding the Reach of Structure Determination With Nanocrystal Tomography

Damon Runyon - Mark Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow (2019-2020)

Ariana Peck, PhD, California Institute of Technology

Ariana Peck, PhD

Dr. PeckĀ is developing a new method to determine the three-dimensional structures of proteins. Though X-ray crystallography has determined protein structure for decades, many proteins involved in cancer form crystals that are a million-fold too small to be studied by this method. Applying the microscopy technique of electron cryotomography to these nanocrystals holds the potential to overcome this limitation and resolve the atomic architectures of these difficult-to-characterize proteins. Such detailed structural information is critical for understanding the molecular basis of cancer and accelerating drug discovery.

Content courtesy of Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation


Peck A, Yao Q, Brewster AS, Zwart PH, Heumann JM, Sauter NK, Jensen GJ. Challenges in solving structures from radiation-damaged tomograms of protein nanocrystals assessed by simulation. Acta Crystallogr D Struct Biol. 2021.

Peck A, Carter SD, Mai H, Chen S, Burt A, Jensen GJ. Montage electron tomography of vitrified specimens. J Struct Biol. 2022.