Leiden has the world's most advanced microscopes

NeCEN, a new high quality centre for electron microscopy, opens its doors in Leiden on October 27th. NeCEN has two of the most advanced cryo-transmission electron microscopes worldwide. The microscopes are open to all research institutes and companies. Ten academic partners, local and national governments and companies collaborated to establish the centre. They expect that NeCEN will lead to giant steps forward in science and R&D.

From professor to politician

NeCEN is the result of a unique collaboration between science, industry and politics. That is why all three aspects will be addressed at the opening on October 27th. Holger Stark, from the University of Göttingen will explain more about electron microscopy during a guest lecture. After this, participants will explore the relation of NeCEN to science, industry and governments. Chairs of these workshops are Bram Koster (LUMC), Peter Peters (NKI-AVL), Dominique Hubert (FEI company) and Jeanette Ridder-Numan (Ministry OCW). Liesbeth Spies, deputy of economic affairs and innovation of Province Zuid-Holland will officially open NeCEN around 16:30.

Open access

Although NeCEN is housed by the Cell Observatory in Leiden, all scientists at companies and research institutes can get access. Ten companies have already written a letter of intent to support the centre during the startup phase, including HAL Allergy, Genencor and Danone. Besides these letters of intent, 15 more companies have recognized the added value of NeCEN. It is truly unique that two microscopes of this type are located together and can be used by every academic or commercial scientist.

Zooming in on life

The two NeCEN microscopes allow scientists to zoom in on cells, molecules and atoms. Incredibly small details can be seen; single atoms have already been distinguished in a virus with the same technology. The NeCEN microscopes are expected to show even more detail. Visualizing these details is the first step towards understanding how diseases work and hence its potential cures. Examples are tuberculosis, malaria and cancer.

For the press

We have prepared a special program for journalists between 15:30 and 16:30. This program will give you insight into the establishment of NeCEN and its relevance for science and industry. Speakers from research institutes and companies that plan to use the microscopes will be present and provide information about the applications. Among the companies are to-BBB and Prosensa. To-BBB develops methods for drug delivery across the blood-brain barrier. Prosensa develops therapies against the neuromuscular disease Duchenne. We also welcome you for the official opening between 16:30 and 17:30 and a visit to the microscopes at 17:45. You can register by sending an e-mail to

Date, location and time

Date: 27 October 2011 Location: Gorlaeus Laboratory, Einsteinweg 55, Leiden 
Time symposium: 12:30-16:30 
Time programme for journalists: 15:30-16:30 
Time official opening: 16:30-17:30
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