Science Art: Western Equine Encephalitis Virus Taken With Cryo-Electron Microscope

This is the infectious microbe (alive? not alive? who knows?) that causes Western equine encephalitis. It’s a deadly virus.

I can remember when they said taking pictures of viruses was impossible. Well, they were wrong.

This picture comes from the super-cool electron microscope at the W.M. Keck Center for Virus Imaging in Texas. I mean that literally – the microscope does what it does because it’s looking at specimens flash-frozen in water. It’s very, very cold.

The facility is finally back online after some recent unpleasantness:

The flooding of the laboratory so soon after its opening was a major blow to medical branch researchers, who spent five years working to establish it.

“We opened about a year before Ike and we started generating structures,” said medical branch associate professor Stanley Watowich. “Then we got Iked.”