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Electron Cryo-Microscopy

1. Sample preparation techniques:

  • Sample fixation and embedding at room temperature: conventional technique
  • Cryofixation: high pressure, propane or ethane immersion
  • Freeze-substitution and cryo-embedding
  • Ultramicrotomy: semithin and ultrathin, all types of resins
  • Cryo-sectioning: cryo-preparation and cryo-slicing
  • Vitreous cryo-sectioning

2. Staining and labeling techniques:

  • Negative and contrast staining
  • Immunolabeling

3. Observation and analysis techniques:

  • Room-temperature transmission electron microscopy (100 kV-120 kV)
  • Cryo-Electron Microscopy (200 kV FEG)
  • Electron tomography and cryotomography (+70º/-70º single axis)
  • Three-dimensional reconstruction of tilt series

4. Optical microscopy techniques

  • Paraffin embedding
  • Paraffin microtomy

Range of services

  • Conventional ultrastructure studies of simple cells and tissues
  • Conventional ultrastructure studies of isolated particles, isolated organelles or small organisms
  • High ultrastructural preservation of cells, tissues, particle samples and small organisms by means of slicing; various degrees of preservation and visualization
  • Study of the organization of intramembrane particles
  • Topographic and/or interior nanometric characterization of lipo/lipoprotein compounds, proteins, proteins assemblies, membranes and biomaterials
  • Molecular recognition or in situ localization at the subcellular level of proteins, nucleic acids and other macromolecules
  • Quantitative studies of measurements or labelling on the nanometric scale
  • Basic preparation for transmission optical microscopy

Examples of application

  • 3D study of the structure of proteins and macromolecular complexes
  • 3D study of cell structures
  • Characterization of liposomes, micelles, bicelles and other lipoprotein particles; effect of surfactants; interaction of surfactants with biological material as vehicles for drug delivery
  • Study of nanoparticles with peptides, proteins, etc. and their possible entry into tumour cells or through the skin, mucous membranes, haemato-encephalitic barrier, etc.
  • Study of functionalized cells or biomolecules on nanostructured substrates
  • 3D studies of proteins of pharmacological interest as drug targets
  • Characterization of peptide hydrogels
  • Ultrastructural study of biological disease models, for example, the malaria parasite infecting the red blood cell or structural changes in tumour cells
  • Study of ultrastructural changes in cells caused by drug trials or genetic modifications of different types


  • Spirit TWIN (FEI) 120 kV LaB6 Tecnai TEM cryomicroscope with Megaview 1kx1k CCD and tomography
  • Tecnai G2 F20 (FEI) 200 kV FEG TEM cryomicroscope with Eagle 4kx4k CCD and tomography
  • Jeol JEM 1010 100 kV TEM microscope with Megaview 1kx1k CCD
  • Leica UC6/FC6 cryoultramicrotome with cryosphere
  • Leica UC7/FC7 cryoultramicrotome
  • Ultracut E ultramicrotome
  • Vitrobot Mark III (FEI) immersion cryofixation/vitrification
  • Leica HPM100 cryofixation/vitrification
  • Leica AFS2 freeze-substitution
  • In situ laboratory: paraffin microtome, optical microscope and accessories
Dr Lidia Delgado Valderrama
Contact person
934 034 658
Access Procedures

Any person applying for the first time for any services by CCiTUB must enter as a new user. For this purpose it is necessary to fill in an application form which can be downloaded from The form must be sent to .

Assurance of quality

ISO 9001:2008. The CCiTUB have well-established a system of management of the quality based on the ISO norm 9001, which also satisfies the Good Manufacturing Practice requirements (GMP).


Recognition by the Food and Drug Administration as a contract laboratory to perform drug tests.

Acknowledged laboratory Register of Agroalimentary Laboratories of Catalonia.