Titan Krios transmission electron microscope at the Frederick National Laboratory.The National Cryo-Electron Microscopy Facility (NCEF) is fully staffed by Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research. To be considered for access to the facility, you must do the following:

Applicants do not need to be NIH grant holders, and a SIF submission is required for each 48-hour imaging session project. 

For additional information, please see the NCEF Process Workflow, and please read the requirements below:

To be considered, projects should fulfill the following requirements:

  • The project must be related to cancer research
  • Only biosafety level 1 (BSL 1) samples can be accepted. No potentially infectious or toxic material can be accepted.
  • Cryo-EM pre-screening images from the same grids made from the same plunge freezing session to be sent to the NCEF will need to be collected on a screening electron microscope, and must be provided with its corresponding Sample Information Form. Pre-screening image requirements:
    1. Low Magnification Images- At least 1 full grid square
    2. Medium Magnification Images- 1 or 5 holes in a quantifoil
    3. High Magnification Images- Particles should be clearly visible

After projects are accepted:

  1. A confirmation of acceptance will then be sent to the applicant with detailed instructions and an imaging checklist.
  2. Frozen cryo-EM grids can then be shipped to the NCEF for imaging. Users must include a return shipping label for return of their dry shipper and include pick-up from the NCEF. A grid box inventory sheet should also be provided or can be emailed to
  3. The accepted 48-hour imaging session will be queued once the grids arrive at the NCEF. The NCEF will allow only one principal investigator’s 48 hour sample run in the running queue at a time. If the same principal investigator has another approved 48 hour run session with corresponding samples already at the NCEF, then this sample run will be entered into the run queue after data collection completion of the previous session.
  4. Data will be transferred via Globus endpoint after imaging session. Grids will then be disposed after imaging session. Collected data will be kept for up to 1 month after transfer to the user, then deleted. 

We do not require you to identify your samples. However, please provide some background information as requested in the SIF. Your data will not be shared with anyone, and will not be analyzed (other than for required image quality control during data acquisition).


In any publications and posters that use data provided by NCEF, we require that you include acknowledgment, such as:

"This research was, in part, supported by the National Cancer Institute’s National Cryo-EM Facility at the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research under contract HSSN261200800001E."