Algorithm Sharpens Focus of Most Powerful Microscopes

Original article was published by on Communications of the ACM – Artificial Intelligence

By Berkeley Lab News Center

October 9, 2020

A multi-institutional team of researchers has developed a computer algorithm that improves the quality of the three-dimensional molecular structure maps generated by cryo-electron microscopy.

Credit: Veronica Falconieri/National Cancer Institute

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and Los Alamos National Laboratory, along with colleagues at Baylor College of Medicine and Cambridge University, have developed an algorithm to enhance the resolution and accuracy of the world’s most powerful microscopes.

The algorithm augments three-dimensional molecular structure maps from cryo-electron microscopy by filtering data based on existing knowledge of how molecules appear, and how best to estimate and remove noise.

Berkeley Lab’s Paul Adams said, “The improvements … [are] particularly consequential for modeling very important biological molecules … which are often only seen in lower-resolution maps due to their large and complex multi-unit structures.”

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