SEMC Re-opening Access Policies 2020
NYSBC SEMC ramp-up plans – Summer-Fall 2020 access
1. Krios operations – remote sessions
- SEMC will continue remote operations for our autoloader systems where a SEMC operational staff member will remotely collect data for users. Users may email, phone call, or set up video conferences to coordinate with operators.
- We have now transitioned to a regular schedule with standard 2-day Krios sessions assigned by your institutional representative. Users may contact their institutional representatives for their institution’s schedule and session assignments.
- In July we ramped down queued access and shifted those samples on-site to standard rapid access. Our schedule has built-in buffer time for rapid access and we are accepting grids if you have Krios-ready samples.
- To maintain social distancing, grid drop-off will be done through our sample receiving table. To accommodate this traffic flow we’ll accept grids 3 weeks ahead of an assigned session up to the Wednesday 1 week ahead of the Krios session. Krios loading will be at the start of the week on Monday and we want to make sure our autoloader inventory is locked the Friday before. Therefore, the Wednesday final cut-off gives us a couple of days buffer time for grid processing.
- We aim to load 2 users in a cassette and we will guarantee up to 2 grids per Krios day (a total of 4 grids for a 2-day session). We are waiving the clipping fee for up to 2-grids/day. Most likely we’ll have room for additional grids, but it is not covered. We recommend users drop off no more than 2 grid boxes/buttons maximum per Krios session.
- At the end of the session, grids will be kept for up to 2 weeks. Users may make an appointment to pick up grids. At the sample receiving table, there will be a section for grid pick up where a staff member will place the grid boxes in a designated 0.5 L dewar.
2. Screening microscopes – remote sessions
- At a limited capacity, SEMC can assist with sample screening. The minimum block of time will be a 1-business day staff assisted session.
- For now, a SEMC operator will remotely do data collection on this microscope for users. The schedule curated by SEMC staff will be first come first served by user request. If we find that demand is high and users are experiencing long wait times we will then start allocating time more similarly to Krios allocations. In this case we’ll contact your institutional representative to assist with session assignments.
- We have a beta version of Leginon Remote that allows web-based targeting by the user. For screening sessions, we may utilize this software.
- To arrange a grid drop off appointment and enter this queue email emg [at] nysbc.org .
3. SEMC operations – assistance with sample preparation and screening (Fast Track process)
- SEMC staff on a limited basis will be able to help users with sample preparation and screening. Users may reserve this category of access if they have minimal resources to do so or are new to cryoEM.
- Chameleon sessions are currently placed on pause due to limited staffing and resources. We expect to start that service back up in the winter.
- Potential users should email emg [at] nysbc.org to set up a project meeting and begin the process.
4. On-site access
- Access to the center will be by appointment. Users expecting to do work at the center will receive a safety orientation before being allowed to do their work. As we re-establish our training and testing program we primarily will only support independent users for now.
- Any user that was certified independent pre-COVID-19 in March may request for time. New users or users that have not been certified independent may request SEMC operational staff to assist with sample preparation as stated above in section 3.
- For independent users that do not have easily have an opportunity to access cryoEM sample preparation and/or screening at their home institution, they will be able to book equipment at the center. All users will eventually have this opportunity but we are focusing on institutions that have a critical need at this time. If you have been certified by SEMC for independent use of an instrument as of July 2020, then you may email emg [at] nysbc.org .
- SEMC is designating Tuesdays and Thursdays in half-day sessions (morning and afternoon) for affiliate users to use the negative-stain bench and our dehumidified room with plunge freezers. Given our DH room’s size, only 1 user can safely be in that room and we will be booking that “room” so the Vitrobot or Leica cannot be used at the same time. After we normalize operations we’ll allow these areas/instrumentation to be bookable by users themselves through our scheduler (PPMS). We plan to open up more days in the week for the sample preparation devices and our screening microscopes as soon as possible. Note, all bookings are actually considered requests. Not until your reservation is green in PPMS is approved, which is done Wednesday afternoon the week before. If you have not received confirmation, then email emg [at] nysbc.org for clarification.
- We would recommend 1 experienced user be the main cryoEM lead per laboratory. In the first phase, all EM done at the center should be funneled through that point person to make the most efficient use of the resources available at this time.
- Users must cancel their session 1-business day in advance otherwise they will be put on probation.
- Given the high demand at this time, if a user cancels their session a second time less than 1-business day in advance, then their reservation privileges may be temporarily suspended. Users with extenuating circumstances may arrange for a meeting for an appeal.
6. New users and certification of independence
- SEMC is establishing procedures for virtual/remote training. Users that are not currently independent and would like to qualify for independence a reference from the affiliate institution will be required before requesting a test for independence. We envision that this reference would primarily be from an institution’s cryoEM facility manger. For users to pass they must demonstrate proficiency.
- To schedule for a certification test you may email emg [at] nysbc.org .
7. Failure to comply with SEMC policies or NYSBC COVID-19 safety policies
- Users will be put on probation for the first offense and instructed on the policy in question by a staff member.
- Users committing an offense a second time will be asked to leave the premises and their reservation privileges may be suspended for up to 2 weeks. Users with extenuating circumstances may arrange for a meeting for an appeal.