CBC Colloquium Series "Development and Applications of Microcrystal Electron Diffraction (MicroED)"


3:30 to 4:30 p.m., Feb. 22, 2024


Dr. Brent Nannenga
Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering, School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy, Arizona State University 



A common barrier to high-resolution structure determination is the growth of large well-ordered crystals. Electron diffraction is capable of producing

 diffraction data from crystals that are orders of magnitude smaller than those needed for conventional X-ray crystallographic experiments. The cryo-EM technique of microcrystal electron diffraction, or MicroED allows the collection of high-resolution diffraction data from extremely small nano and microcrystals that resist other structure determination techniques. The method has been used to solve high-resolution structures from a variety of diverse of targets and is becoming a powerful tool for macromolecular and chemical crystallography. In this presentation, MicroED methods will be described along with representative applications of the method to biomolecular crystals, organic crystals, and materials. Additionally, current work in our lab, which is focused on improving MicroED methodology and extending this technique to new samples will be presented.

Nannenga Headshot



Brent Nannenga is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering in the School for Engineering Matter, Transport and Energy at Arizona State University and a member of The Biodesign Institute’s Center for Applied Structural Discovery. He received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Washington in 2011. Following his graduate studies, he conducted postdoctoral research at Janelia Research Campus (Howard Hughes Medical Institute) where he focused on the development and application of microcrystal electron diffraction (MicroED). 

Since joining Arizona State University in 2015, his research has focused on developing and using methods for high-resolution structure determination, and employing structural insights gained from these methods in order to engineer biomolecules and materials with novel and unique properties. Currently he is the co-Director of the NIH funded MicroED Imaging Center at UCLA, a technology development center focused on MicroED methodology and application. His work has been recognized by awards including an NSF CAREER Award, Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) Young Investigator Award, the 2020 Burton Medal from the Microscopy Society of America, and the 2022 Margaret C. Etter Early Career Award from the American Crystallographic Association. 

Hosted by: Dr. Michael Brown