Shawn Douglas, Professor at University of California San Francisco, is developing a better way of identifying proteins. A common method for identifying proteins is Cryo-EM. This process freezes proteins in place in varying orientations, takes pictures of the protein silhouettes, and then combines many silhouette images to reconstruct the 3d shape of the protein. If the protein is too small, this method becomes very difficult. Shawn constructed a scaffold – a molecular goniometer – to hold the protein in place and rotate it on its axis by a set angle, making it much easier to use Cryo-EM to identify the structure of small proteins.