An open-access volume electron microscopy atlas of whole cells and tissues

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


  • C. Shan Xu - , Howard Hughes Medical Institute (Author)
  • Song Pang - , Howard Hughes Medical Institute (Author)
  • Gleb Shtengel - , Howard Hughes Medical Institute (Author)
  • Andreas Müller - , Molecular Diabetology, University Medicine (Faculty of Medicine and University Hospital), Chair of Materials Science and Nanotechnology, TUD Dresden University of Technology, German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD e.V.) (Author)
  • Alex T. Ritter - , Genentech Incorporated (Author)
  • Huxley K. Hoffman - , University of Denver, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus (Author)
  • Shin ya Takemura - , Howard Hughes Medical Institute (Author)
  • Zhiyuan Lu - , Howard Hughes Medical Institute (Author)
  • H. Amalia Pasolli - , Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Rockefeller University (Author)
  • Nirmala Iyer - , Howard Hughes Medical Institute (Author)
  • Jeeyun Chung - , Harvard University (Author)
  • Davis Bennett - , Howard Hughes Medical Institute (Author)
  • Aubrey V. Weigel - , Howard Hughes Medical Institute (Author)
  • Melanie Freeman - , Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California at Berkeley (Author)
  • Schuyler B. van Engelenburg - , University of Denver (Author)
  • Tobias C. Walther - , Harvard University, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Broad Institute of Harvard University and MIT (Author)
  • Robert V. Farese - , Harvard University (Author)
  • Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz - , Howard Hughes Medical Institute (Author)
  • Ira Mellman - , Genentech Incorporated (Author)
  • Michele Solimena - , Molecular Diabetology, University Medicine (Faculty of Medicine and University Hospital), Experimental Center of the Faculty of Medicine, German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD e.V.), Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (Author)
  • Harald F. Hess - , Howard Hughes Medical Institute (Author)


Understanding cellular architecture is essential for understanding biology. Electron microscopy (EM) uniquely visualizes cellular structures with nanometre resolution. However, traditional methods, such as thin-section EM or EM tomography, have limitations in that they visualize only a single slice or a relatively small volume of the cell, respectively. Focused ion beam-scanning electron microscopy (FIB-SEM) has demonstrated the ability to image small volumes of cellular samples with 4-nm isotropic voxels1. Owing to advances in the precision and stability of FIB milling, together with enhanced signal detection and faster SEM scanning, we have increased the volume that can be imaged with 4-nm voxels by two orders of magnitude. Here we present a volume EM atlas at such resolution comprising ten three-dimensional datasets for whole cells and tissues, including cancer cells, immune cells, mouse pancreatic islets and Drosophila neural tissues. These open access data (via OpenOrganelle2) represent the foundation of a field of high-resolution whole-cell volume EM and subsequent analyses, and we invite researchers to explore this atlas and pose questions.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-151
Number of pages5
Issue number7883
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2021

External IDs

PubMed 34616045


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