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eric_4x5crop.pngEric Roth, BioCryo electron microscopy specialist

 

What technical expertise do you offer?

My main focus is on high quality sample preparation and imaging of routine and unusual material or biological utilizing cryogenic techniques and electron microscopy, ranging from TEM, SEM, STEM, ultramicrotomy, cryo-ultramicrotomy, cryoTEM, cryoSEM, and microanalysis. I also have a background in graphic art which I utilize in my work helping collaborators produce cover images for their publications. Finally, I am particularly passionate about any project requiring the use of an extremely steady hand.  If I weren’t in microscopy, I’d probably be in surgery.

 

How do you facilitate research collaboration?

I firmly believe that collaboration is the most important factor at play in producing high quality research. No one is an expert on everything and not everyone has the time, patience, and/or skill to handle every aspect of experiment design, sample preparation, data acquisition, interpretation, story-telling, and the vast spectrum of factors at play in making a scientific breakthrough. Surrounding yourself with experts in all fields of study and leveraging their talents benefits everyone as a whole and speeds up the progress of science. I facilitate collaboration by making and maintaining connections with experts in all fields of study.  That way, when someone brings me a difficult sample or needs a complex technique that I am not qualified to handle, I probably know someone else who is.

 

What inspired you to work in this field?

As a small child, I saw ads on TV where they showed a scanning electron micrograph of human hair and was immediately inspired by all things small. I remember being disappointed when a magnifying lens did not produce the same results, but the image always stuck in my head. Years later, I’ve found myself able to proficiently produce similar data to what I saw so many years ago on TV during commercial breaks of MacGyver.

 

What are the everyday practical applications of your research/work? How does what you’re doing make a difference to non-scientists?

On a daily basis I’m practically swimming in liquid nitrogen, meaning I do a lot of work involving cryogenic sample preparation and imaging. Working with samples in a frozen state allows for the visualization of morphology in its truest form, devoid of artifacts produced by conventional sample preparation and microscopy. For the non-scientist, this means more accurate data and new breakthroughs throughout the scientific spectrum, from material science, biology, chemistry, and more.

 

What excites you most about the future of nanotechnology?

In my position, I have the privilege of seeing the end results of a diverse plethora of projects. What excites me most is that many of these projects are producing practical and useful technologies that will improve the future for all of humanity. Microscopy is an exciting place to spend a career!