Overview of Services

About us: Instruct-HiLIFE provides integrated structural biology services from high-quality sample production to structure determination and biocomputational analysis. We provide services and expertise in biomolecular complex purification (Biocomplex), cryo-electron microscopy (CryoEM), protein crystallization (Xtal) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). We are part of the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Helsinki Institute of Life Sciences (HiLIFE) at the University of Helsinki; Structural Biology Finland research infrastructure (FINStruct) consortium, Biocenter Finland and Instruct-Centre Finland of Instruct-ERIC that is a pan-European research infrastructure in structural biology.


  • Biomolecular complex purification (Biocomplex)
  • Cryo-electron microscopy (CryoEM)
  • Protein crystallization (Xtal)
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)

Equipment and technology:

  • Biocomplex unit provides macromolecular sample preparation and purification for functional and structural studies using preparative ultracentrifugation (ThermoScientific WX Ultra series), monolithic chromatography (Äkta Pure 25M), and asymmetric flow field-flow fractionation (AF4, Eclipse Neon, Wyatt) coupled to multidetection platform (MALS, DLS, dRI, UV and fluorescence detectors from Agilent or Wyatt).
  • CryoEM unit provides high-resolution imaging of nanoparticles, such as virus and protein complexes in the order of 150 kDa upwards (~5 to 300 nm in diameter). CryoEM is particularly useful for objects that are too large, unstable or variable to be studied by X-ray crystallography or NMR. It can be used to understand the structure, assembly and function of various biological macromolecule complexes.
  • X-ray crystallography unit offers protein crystallization services (SPT Lab­tech mosquito® LCP and Hamilton Microlab STAR pipetting robots, Formulatrix Rock Imager 182 at room temperature, Rigaku Minstrel DT UV Imaging System at +4C) and diffraction data collection, sample characterization and optimization services through SEC-MALS and Thermofluor analyses (Shimadzu LC-10Ai pump coupled with Wyatt Technology miniDAWN TREOS and Optilab REX detectors, and Agilent Technologies Stratagene Mx3005P) and advice on protein production and purification for crystallization, data processing and structure solution. The unit jointly organizes crystal shipments and data collection at synchrotrons by coordinated Block-Allocation-Group (BAG)-proposals to ESRF and Diamond Light Source at the national level. In-house rapid evaluation of crystal diffraction is available through in situ crystallization screening (Rigaku XtaLAB Synergy-S X-ray Diffractometer).
  • Finnish Biological NMR Center provides services for solution state NMR studies. The state-of-the-art 850 MHz spectrometer is optimal for studying structure and function of biomolecules, whereas 600 MHz system with a broadband probe can be employed to multinuclear studies of various kind of molecules in solution state.
  • More information on our services in available by following the links from Links and Resources.

How to start the project at the Instruct-HiLIFE facilities: Login to your iLAB account to start the project in our facilities. Follow this link for making an iLAB account. Select the service you are interested in from Request Service. Instrument time is reserved from Schedule Equipment. In case of questions, please contact the specific core. The contact information is available at the bottom of this page.


Minna Poranen Biocomplex director, PhD
Sarah Butcher CryoEM director, Professor
Tommi Kajander Protein crystallisation director, PhD
Perttu Permi NMR director, PhD

Location and hours of operation

Core Hours/Days Open  Hours/Days Staffed Location
Biocomplex 24 h Mon-Sun (advanced users) Mon-Thu 8 am – 4 pm, Fri 8 am-3 pm   Viikinkaari 9 Biocenter 1, B stair, 6th floor 00790 Helsinki, Finland 
CryoEM 24 h Mon-Sun Mon-Fri 9 am – 4 pm  Viikinkaari 9 Biocenter 1, C stair, 1st floor 00790 Helsinki, Finland 
Protein Crystallization Mon-Fri 9 am – 6 pm  Mon-Fri 9 am – 4 pm  Viikinkaari 1 Biocenter 3, 2nd floor 00790 Helsinki, Finland 
NMR 24 h Mon-Sun Mon-Fri 9 am – 4 pm  Viikinkaari 1 Biocenter 3, 1st floor 00790 Helsinki, Finland 

Links and Resources


Name Role Phone Email Location
AF4, Ultracentrifugation, liquid chromatography


Protein Crystallisation
Crystallization, diffraction analysis and biophysical characterization of biomacromolecules 

Liquid NMR, protein production & purification