• Dept. of Biochemistry & Biophysics
  • University of California San Francisco
  • Genentech Hall Room S312B
  • 600 16th Street
  • San Francisco, CA 94158-2517
  • Telephone: (415) 514-9707
  • FAX: (415) 514-4145
  • ycheng@biochem.ucsf.edu


I was a postdoc in Professor Taylor’s lab from 1996-1998. I came from a material science background and this was my first appointment in a structural biology laboratory.

My work involved applying the techniques of electron tomography and electron crystallography to the study of protein structure. The laboratory studies mainly muscle proteins, one of which is the actin crosslinking protein alpha-actinin. To facilitate our structural studies, we purchased a Philips CM300-FEG electron microscope and one of my jobs was to evaluate its suitability for electron tomography and protein crystallography. These methods require that the microscope perform well at low magnification. Tests of our microscope showed that 2.04Å lattice fringes from crystalline gold can be obtained at magnifications as low as 10,000X. I have also developed a computer program to record a complete tilt series of any set of angles on the CM300 and CM120 microscopes. This program was used at Florida State University for several years to record tilt series of ice embedded specimens as well as plastic sections on film. They now use a CCD camera to record the tomographic data.


  • Kenneth A. Taylor, Jinghua Tang, Yifan Cheng, Hanspeter Winkler. The use of electron tomography for structural analysis of disordered protein arrays. J. Struct. Biol. 120, 372-386 (1997)
  • Yifan Cheng, Kenneth A. Taylor. Characterization of the low magnification performance of a Philips CM300-FEG. Ultramicroscopy 74, 209-220 (1998).
  • Jun Liu, Shenping Wu, Mary C. Reedy, Hanspeter Winkler, Carmen Lucaveche, Yifan Cheng, Michael K. Reedy, and Kenneth A. Taylor. Electron tomography of swollen rigor fibers of insect flight muscle reveals a short and variably angled S2 domain. J. Mol. Biol. 362, 844-860 (2006).
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