FEI and the National Center for Protein Sciences Beijing Launch Training & Research Facility for Cryo-Electron Microscopy

HILLSBORO, Ore. and BEIJING, Feb. 4, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- FEI (Nasdaq:FEIC) and the Tsinghua University Branch of National Center for Protein Sciences Beijing announce a collaboration to establish a joint new training and research program for cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) in structural biology. With this joint program, the center will feature the first complete cryo-EM workflow in Asia for molecular and cellular structural biologists.

Cryo-EM has achieved a methodological breakthrough to structurally analyze a wide variety of protein complexes at atomic resolution level. This has been a very challenging and nearly impossible task with existing structural technologies, such as crystallography (XRD) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), due to their technical limitations. This largely uncharted field can now be addressed with cryo-EM, and many new researchers will likely be entering the field. The Beijing center's training and research program will be developed specifically to meet this educational need in Asia.

"The ability to integrate three-dimensional (3D) molecular-scale information from cryo-EM with XRD results as well as NMR data enables researchers to visualize and understand the relationship between structure and function of molecular complexes that may hold the key for central biomedical questions," states Peter Fruhstorfer, FEI's vice president and general manager of Life Sciences. "Thus, the boundary conditions are created to gain ground-breaking new insights into the way living systems function, and may lead to promising pathways for the development of effective new medicines and other personalized molecular therapies."

"We are very enthusiastic about adopting FEI's workflow solutions into our core facilities," says Prof. Hongwei Wang, Tsinghua University. "This is a unique opportunity to establish a key collaborative reference site for China and the entire South-East Asia region. The adopted workflow solution opens the door to understanding the structure and function of whole classes of proteins and protein complexes that are simply beyond the capabilities of NMR and XRD alone. An integrative approach that incorporates cryo-EM enables us to begin to look for answers to some of the most important biological questions of our time."

Prof. Wang adds, "This collaborative effort with FEI to establish a training program at Tsinghua University is a key step in developing the talented and knowledgeable researcher community we need to pursue and maintain leadership in this field."

Cryo-EM allows researchers to look at large proteins and protein complexes frozen in a near-natural state. In integrative structural biology, EM provides the larger, molecular-scale context for the atomic-scale results of XRD and NMR. FEI's unique workflow approach addresses all phases of the cryo-EM analytical process, including: sample optimization; cryo-sample preparation; image/data acquisition; image/data analysis; three-dimensional structural modeling; visualization; and presentation. The workflow is built around FEI's Titan Krios™, a highly automated, cryo-transmission electron microscope (TEM) designed specifically to meet the needs of structural biologists. In addition to cryo sample handling, the Titan Krios provides the long-term stability and unattended operation required for structural analyses, which may involve hundreds of thousands of images acquired over several days.

The Titan Krios TEM installed at Tsinghua University includes an integrated phase plate, which is a stable, durable solution that increases the contrast of sensitive biological samples and is available on most TEM platforms from FEI. A CorrSight™ system will also be installed at Tsinghua, which is an advanced light microscope that integrates support of multiple workflows for correlative experiments. It enables quick chemical fixation directly from a live cell imaging experiment for subsequent analysis at the ultra-structural level. In addition, it also allows fluorescence imaging of cryo samples at high resolution to allow for identification of potentially interesting regions in the sample for analysis by cryo-EM.

For additional information about FEI's structural biology workflow, please visit http://www.fei.com/life-sciences/structural-biology/.

About Tsinghua University

Tsinghua University was established in 1911. The faculty greatly valued the interaction between Chinese and Western cultures, the sciences and humanities, the ancient and the modern. Since China opened up to the world in 1978, Tsinghua University has developed at a breathtaking pace into a comprehensive research university. At present, the university has 14 schools and 56 departments with faculties in science, engineering, humanities, law, medicine, history, philosophy, economics, management, education and art. The University has now over 25,900 students, including 13,100 undergraduates and 12,800 graduate students. As one of China's most renowned universities, Tsinghua has become an important institution for fostering talent and scientific research.

About FEI

FEI Company (Nasdaq:FEIC) designs, manufactures and supports a broad range of high-performance microscopy workflow solutions that provide images and answers at the micro-, nano- and picometer scales. Its innovation and leadership enable customers in industry and science to increase productivity and make breakthrough discoveries. Headquartered in Hillsboro, Ore., USA, FEI has over 2,600 employees and sales and service operations in more than 50 countries around the world. More information can be found at: www.fei.com.

FEI Safe Harbor Statement

This news release contains forward-looking statements that include statements regarding the performance capabilities and benefits of the structural biology workflow, Titan Krios TEM, phase plates and CorrSight. Factors that could affect these forward-looking statements include but are not limited to our ability to manufacture, ship, deliver and install the tools or software as expected; failure of the product or technology to perform as expected; unexpected technology problems and challenges; changes to the technology; the inability of FEI, its suppliers or project partners to make the technological advances required for the technology to achieve anticipated results; and the inability of the customer to deploy the tools or develop and deploy the expected new applications. Please also refer to our Form 10-K, Forms 10-Q, Forms 8-K and other filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for additional information on these factors and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements. FEI assumes no duty to update forward-looking statements.

CONTACT: For more information contact: Sandy Fewkes (media contact) MindWrite Communications, Inc. +1 408 224 4024 sandy@mind-write.com Jason Willey (investors and analysts) Investor Relations Director +1 503 726 2533 jason.willey@fei.com

Source:FEI Company