IN THIS EPISODE, THE PODCAST EXPLORES THE TINY and transformative world revealed by the process of cryo-electron microscopy. By a process of freezing molecules, and bombarding them with electrons, researchers can observe the building blocks of human cells.

Luke Chao, a faculty member in the department of molecular biology at Massachusetts General Hospital, explains why simply mapping these molecules can open new frontiers in treatment. “Shapes are central to how they work. And they’re also really important if we want to modify their function or block their function, in the case of many drugs.”

The podcast also travels to the New York Structural Biology Center, where directors Bridget Carragher and Clint Potter show these massive machines at work. Listen here, or subscribe to the Proto podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.