UMass Medical School

Cryo-Electron Microscopy Facility

Project at a Glance

Worcester, MA


TRO Design Inc.

Project Type


Project Overview

  • Close coordination with Director of Cryo-EM Microscopy Facility, Chen Xu, UMass user groups and specialty subcontractors to create the highly specialized environment.
  • Calculated construction approach to achieve precise controls for vibration, acoustics and climate control to protect the equipment
  • Unique construction of eight-layered walls measuring two feet in thickness to protect the microscopes and the immediately adjacent support spaces to ensure accurate results

The construction of a state-of-the-art Cryo-Electron Microscopy Facility (Cryo-EM) for UMass Medical School is the first-of-its-kind in New England. The Cryo-EM is able to process images of particles at near-atomic level and is playing a critical role in identifying likely therapeutic approaches to a broad range of diseases, particularly neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s, immunological disorders and diabetes.

The 2,000 sq. ft. microscopy suite hosts the facility’s two microscopes: the sophisticated Titan Krios and versatile Talos-Arctica. The suite was built with round-the-clock remote monitoring systems to detect degree variations by the hour. The walls, which are key to maintaining the strict controls, measure two feet in thickness. They contain six-inch wooden studs to absorb vibration; seamlessly welded aluminum panels on thick plywood, which is essential to protect from electromagnetic interference. They are also constructed with acoustical drywall; foam acoustical panels; and special cooling panels custom-designed by our in-house carpentry team. Managing smoke and odors produced by the high-quality welding necessary during construction required special mitigation and ventilation measures.