On December 1st and 2nd members of the CoCID consortium gathered at the University of Heidelberg Department of Infectious Diseases for the 3rd in-person consortium meeting. Twenty-one participants representing all seven CoCID partners provided an update on the progress of each project work package.
On Day 1 partners were updated on the recent developments with the laboratory-based soft X-ray microscope, and tomograms obtained on samples from each scientific Use Case were discussed. With the SXT-100 now routinely imaging partner samples and the volume of data increasing, there was some very useful discussion with partners on the most efficient way of sharing data within the consortium. Also discussed was the progress in developing a correlative LM/TEM/SXT workflow, a concept involving cryo-SXT of whole vitrified cells followed by freeze substitution and resin embedding before sectioning and TEM. Such a correlative workflow can extend the utility of the SXT-100, allowing it to be used to identify regions of interest in whole cells before sectioning and TEM.
Day 2- focused on the scientific Use Cases, with updates on each of the virology work packages discussed. In all cases, deliverables remain on target, and work has begun to extend the scope to the study of flaviviruses. The discussion was had about developing a cryo-correlative workflow that could involve imaging a thick lamella with SXT before thinning it for cryo-electron tomography. A cryo-SXT sample workflow involving glass capillaries was also presented, with ideas discussed on how to incorporate these into the SXT-100 to provide a dual grid/capillary sample option for partners.
It is fantastic to be part of a group with such a range and depth of expertise. We look forward to seeing more interesting developments and high-impact scientific results in the coming months.
A big thank you to Ralf Bartenschlager and his team in Heidelberg for their wonderful hospitality, the interesting and informative facility tours of UHEI and EMBL, and of course the hugely enjoyable trip to the Heidelberg Christmas market!