Sanford-Burnham hosts the Titan Microscope Inauguration Symposium and Reception

| Written by rbruni
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Dorit Hanein, Ph.D., professor in the Bioinformatics and Structural Program, hosted the Titan Microscope Inauguration Symposium and reception on August 21 at our La Jolla, Calif., campus. The Titan Krios, a state-of-the-art electron microscope, will help our scientists visualize cells, viruses, and bacteria at the atomic level.

The symposium was held to inaugurate the new Titan Krios Transmission Electron Microscope (FEI Company) in honor of our Institute founders Dr. William and Lillian Fishman, who acquired the Institute’s first microscope over 35 years ago and began a legacy of cutting-edge technology that is continued today.

The symposium’s distinguished speakers included more than 14 presenters from peer research institutes, including UC San Diego, The Scripps Research Institute, Caltech, Stanford, and the National University of Singapore.

Guests enjoyed a full day of presentations focused on cutting-edge research in the fields of biophotonics and bioinformatics. Hot topics included the challenges of data processing, connecting cell structures with functions, specimen preparation to maximize results, and real-time analysis of pathogens.

Following the symposium, guests and donors gathered in Chairmen’s Hall for a cocktail reception and tour of the new Titan Krios suite. Kristiina Vuori, M.D., Ph.D., president of Sanford-Burnham, led a short program describing the importance of having access to such an advanced instrument for our researchers and the quality of their work.

Ze’ev Ronai, scientific director of Sanford-Burnham in La Jolla, also said a few words, specifically sharing how Jonas Salk of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies generously gifted the first electron microscope to Dr. William Fishman over 35 years ago.

Finally, Nina Fishman, Dr. William and Lillian Fishman’s daughter, joined the reception and praised the Institute’s continued commitment to her parent’s vision for the Institute. A beautiful brushed metal plaque bearing our founder’s image was unveiled shortly after the remarks concluded.

The plaque is permanently mounted on the wall directly outside of the new Titan Microscope suite. It is placed there to honor the Institute’s outstanding commitment to employing the latest and most advanced technology available to accelerate and improve the quantity and quality of our researchers' discoveries.

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About the Titan Krios Microscope

The Titan microscope is a rare state-of-the-art electron microscope specifically designed and developed for life science and medical research applications. It is not a traditional electron microscope, but rather a cryo-electron microscope, meaning that samples within it are frozen at the temperature of liquid nitrogen (between -346°F and -320°F)—the microscope’s operating temperature—and they are never exposed to any form of dehydration. This technique produces the most-accurate imaging results.

Produced by the FEI Company of Hillsboro, Ore., the Titan Microscope is a very exceptional instrument. There are only a handful of them in the U.S. and fewer than 45 total worldwide. The purchase of this $5.5-million instrument was made possible through an NIH Shared Instrumentation Grant.