Getting Started

New Users

If you are interested in starting a project in the Beckman Institute Biological and Cryogenic Transmission Electron Microscopy Resource Center, please follow these steps.

  1. Be Informed

    Familiarize yourself with current capabilities of Electron Microscopy methods. Simons Electron Microscopy Center at the New York Structural Biology Center has a wonderful overview page of points to consider prior to embarking on an EM project.

  2. Training

    Read our Training page top to bottom. Identify a Super User that will be helping you and start going through online material.

  3. Project Form

    Fill out the Project Proposal Form for every new project/sample. The copy of the form will be emailed to the facility managers, user and their PI. For any biohazardous samples, the protocol must first be approved by the Biosafety committee. The copy of the protocol then must be forwarded to the facility managers.

  4. Schedule a Meeting

    Schedule a meeting with staff ( to discuss the project.

  5. Establish a Lab Account

    We use Idea Elan for Instrument Reservations. Watch the introductory videos on our Reservation page. If your group already have a Lab account, log into the system with your Caltech Access information and request access to your lab, the Facility, and T12 microscope. If not, work with your PI and administrator to set up the Lab. Once the Lab has been set up, request access to the Facility and T12.

  6. Establish a New Project

    To make a reservation on IE you will need to create a project in the IE system. Just like in Point 2, create a new Project in IE system. Make sure to give it appropriately descriptive name and details as you would in our form.


The Center maintains all cryo-EM tools and supplies except for grids. Due to many options for kinds of grids and necessary careful storage and handling,  individual labs must plan in advance and provide their own grids.  Some standard grids will be available at the Chemistry stockroom in BI. Labs receive a single statement once a quarter based on their usage of the microscopes. For more information about recharge rates, please contact the staff.