Dr Rebecca Thompson


My role is Senior Cryo-Electron Microscopy Support Scientist and Facility Manager for the Electron Microscopy Facility within the Astbury Biostructure Laboratory. My job is a mix of managing our Electron Microscopy facility and providing scientific support to users across the University and beyond. The Astbury Biostructure laboratory electron microscopy facility specialises in structural biology- studying macromolecular complexes such as viruses, ribosomes and membrane proteins at high resolution. We have fantastic, state-of-the-art equipment including two Titan Krios transmission electron microscopes, equipped with direct electron detectors. These enable us to generate structures of many complexes in close to atomic detail. 

I am a biologist by training- after my undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology at Cardiff University I joined the University of Leeds in 2011 on the Wellcome Trust 'The Molecular Basis of Biological Mechanisms' PhD scheme. My PhD work was carried out with Neil Ranson, Eric Hewitt and Sheena Radford, investigating how misfolded protein aggregates known as amyloid fibrils interact with membranes from cells. After my PhD in 2016 I joined the Astbury Biostructrure Laboratory as the cryo-electron microscopy support scientist and in 2017 became the Facility Manager.

Research interests

My research interests primarily revolve around pushing the boundaries of what we can achieve with the fantastic electron microscopy technology we have at Leeds. This currently includes developing workflows for in situ structural biology; I am interested in combining different microscopy techniques to provide greater insight into complex biological questions, including fluorescence microscopy and soft-X ray microscopy. 

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://biologicalsciences.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD, University of Leeds, 2016
  • BSc Molecular Biology, Cardiff University, 2011

Professional memberships

  • Royal Microscopical Society
  • Biochemical Society

Student education

I teach on a range of Masters and PhD course modules, as well as providing equipment, sample preparation and image processing training to students and staff within the electron microscopy facility. I currently coordinate the biological stream of the Royal Microscopical Society Electron microscopy spring/summer school held in Leeds each year and teach on a vareity of external training courses relating to electron microscopy.