In Celebration of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry


This year the Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to three researchers, Dr. Jacques Dubochet (Professor, University of Lausanne, Switzerland), Dr. Joachim Frank (Professor, Columbia University, the U.S.A), and Dr. Richard Henderson (Program Leader, MRC, Laboratory of Molecular Biology, U.K.), for their development of Cryo-Electron Microscopy.

Cryo-Electron Microscopy drew attention for the first time in 2003, when Dr. Peter Agre, the discoverer of Aquaporin, was awarded the 2003 Novel Prize in Chemistry. A few years before this special event, Dr. Yoshinori Fujiyoshi (now: Visiting Professor, Nagoya University / Director, CeSPIA Inc.) and his research group analyzed Aquaporin structure for the first time using a Cryo-Electron Microscope developed by Dr. Fujiyoshi and JEOL Ltd. In 2003, public attention was not focused on the Cryo–Electron Microscope. This year, Cryo-Electron Microscopy itself participates in the award. This Nobel Prize winning is exciting news for JEOL Ltd., who has been engaged in the development of Cryo-Electron Microscopes for over 30 years.

It is known that cooling specimens at the lowest possible temperature is effective to sustain the behaviors of molecules and atoms when an electron beam is irradiated. Due to the advance of high-speed and high-quality imaging cameras, Cryo-Electron Microscopes enable acquisition of images at liquid nitrogen temperature.

During the early days, Dr. Henderson and also Dr. Fujiyoshi faced many challenges. The main focus was the structural analysis of two-dimensional protein crystals. In recent years, Dr. Frank’s work with single particle analysis (SPA) has advanced into the spotlight.

JEOL’ recently released Cyro ARM series are state of the art, with superior performance and speed. Based on over 30years of Cyro-Electron experience and the success of our ARM series, expectations are high for their use in future breakthroughs in drug discovery as well as a better understanding of our bodies. We would like to thank Dr. Keiichi Namba (Specially Appointed Professor, Osaka University) who collaborated with JEOL in this development.

In April 17, 2017, JEOL Ltd. established CeSPIA Inc. with Dr. Fujiyoshi. “CeSPIA” is engaged in contract analysis of structural analysis for drug discovery, research and development consultation, and biological testing.