BER Structural Biology and Imaging Resources
Synchrotron, Neutron, and Cryo-EM
U.S. Department of Energy | Office of Science | Office of Biological and Environmental Research

Overview of Resources and Facilities

Structural biology and imaging resources—together with today’s systems biology approaches— enable scientists to understand the relationships between plant and microbial genomes, protein structure and function, and environmental interactions important for bioenergy and environmental missions.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER) supports several specialized structural biology resources that are freely available to the research community. These advanced experimental research technologies, methodologies, instruments, and computational capabilities are at DOE Office of Science user facilities across the country. The resources give users access to capabilities and services beyond those possible in individual labs and provide expert support, assistance, and training.

This website serves as a portal for information on these resources, including the capabilities each offers and how users can access them. Also highlighted are scientific accomplishments the resources have enabled.

The spatial and temporal resolutions provided by these resources enable detailed characterization and imaging of biological structures and functional processes important to BER-funded researchers and centers. Measurements range from subnanometer to millimeter sample lengths and span experimental time scales from femtoseconds to days. Capabilities that provide molecular fingerprints and mechanistic and dynamic understanding of in situ processes help advance various high-priority BER science focus areas.

The BER-funded resources described on this site seek to promote and expand collaborations between DOE user facilities and researchers advancing BER science. Such interactions facilitate explorations of the fundamental science necessary to understand, manipulate, and design biological processes that underpin innovations in DOE’s bioenergy and environmental missions.

Characterization and imaging resources for structural biology research are located at synchrotron, neutron, and cryo-EM/ET user facilities across the United States. Explore details below on the specific resources that BER supports. All facilities except BER’s Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) are operated by DOE’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences.

BER-Sponsored Resources at DOE User Facilities

Advanced Light Source

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory


Berkeley Synchrotron Infrared Structural Biology: synchrotron infrared hyperspectral imaging (synchrotron Fourier-transform infrared spectromicroscopy)

National Center for X-Ray Tomography: soft X-ray tomography

Structurally Integrated Biology for the Life Sciences: X-ray macromolecular crystallography, solution X-ray scattering (small-angle X-ray scattering; SAXS)

National Synchrotron Light Source II

Brookhaven National Laboratory


Center for BioMolecular Structure: X-ray macromolecular crystallography, solution X-ray scattering/diffraction (small-angle X-ray scattering; SAXS)

Laboratory for Biomolecular Structure: cryo-EM

Advanced Photon Source

Argonne National Laboratory


Structural Biology Center: X-ray macromolecular crystallography

Spallation Neutron Source and High Flux Isotope Reactor

Oak Ridge National Laboratory


Center for Structural Molecular Biology: small-angle neutron scattering, biodeuteration

Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory


Cryogenic Transmission Electron Microscopy for Structural Biology: cryo-EM

Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory


Structural Molecular Biology: X-ray macromolecular crystallography, X-ray spectroscopy, solution X-ray scattering (small-angle X-ray scattering; SAXS), microXAS imaging

Stanford-SLAC Cryo-EM Center:
cryo-EM, cryo-ET