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Our Facilities

In this Section

The Biology Department is located within the Cora and Bayard Clarkson Science Center, a building that houses the administrative, teaching and research facilities of the School of Arts & Sciences.

The research mission of the department complements our curriculum by providing individual project-based learning opportunities in the field and in state-of-the-art facilities. 

The department also has a wide range of equipment and facilities for use in research involving:

Cell biology
Molecular Science/Genetic Engineering

Protein Chemistry/Biotechnology

The biology teaching labs are large and have recently been completely renovated and updated.
Our general facilities include:

  • Freezers at -20 and -70 degrees for maintenance of tissue, protein and DNA sample
  • Incubators at 4, 15, 37, 45, 60 degrees — maintenance and growth of bacterial, cell and tissue cultures
  • Two autoclaves to support cell biology and microbiology labs that require sterile supplies
  • MilliQ Water System for preparation of ultra-pure water for cell culture and other technical applications
  • Fume hoods for working with hazardous chemicals
  • Liquid nitrogen freezers for long-term cryopreservation of cell cultures
  • Networked PCs for hands-on problem solving in molecular biology and ecology teaching laboratories

Cell Biology Equipment & Facilities

  • Multiple inverted photomicroscopes and fluorescent microscopes for high-power observation of cell and tissue cultures
  • CO2 incubators for maintenance of cell and tissue cultures
  • Shaking incubators for bacterial cell cultures 
  • Laminar flow hoods for manipulation and transfer of cell cultures in a sterile environment 
  • Biosafety hoods for manipulation of human tissues and pathogens 
  • Stereo Microscopes for observation of biological samples and microdissection 
  • Cryomed Freezers for cryopreservation of cells in liquid nitrogen 
  • Probe sonicator for lysing cells and extracting macromolecules  
  • Kodak photography system and software for digital capture of images and analysis of colony size and area

Ecology Equipment and Facilities

  • Hess and Serber Stream Samplers for collection of invertebrates from stream environments
  • R/V Raquette 16 ft aluminum v-hull 25 hp boat for small lake and river work 
  • Ponar and Ekman Benthic Dredges for collection of invertebrates from deep water habitats 
  • Zooplankton net (0.6 m diameter, 65 µm) for collection of zooplankton and phytoplankton
  • Compound and Stereo Microscopes for observation of invertebrate organisms 
  • Percival Programmable Incubators for culture of plants and insects under natural light and temperature cycles 
  • Coulter Multisizer 3 for plankton size enumeration and sizing 
  • Fluoroprobe submersible fluorometer for characterizing pigmented plankton communities 
  • Hester-Dendy samplers for characterizing colonization by lake and stream aquatic invertebrates 
  • Depth finder and global positioning systems 
  • YSI multiprobe submersible conductivity, temperature, depth, pH, dissolved oxygen sounder with 100 ft cable; for characterizing water column properties in lakes 
  • R/V Santa Clara 14 ft aluminum flat-bottom row boat for shallow water work 
  • R/V Lavinia 25 ft, 2 x 150 hp, Boston Whaler/Challenger, 25 mile radar, marine radio, DGPS; for large lake and St. Lawrence River work 
  • Turner Designs model AU-10 fluorometer for detection of colored dissolved organic matter, chlorophyll and other phytoplankton pigments, with flow through cell 
  • ArcView Geographic Information System software 
  • Van Dorn, Niskin, and Go-Flo bottles for collecting water samples at depth 
  • Radio tracking receivers and digital range finder 
  • Hand held geographic positioning system (GPS) units 
  • Spotting scopes and binoculars 
  • Video cameras and monitors

Histology Equipment and Facilities

  • Cryostat – preparation of frozen tissue sections
  • Sorval Ultramicrotome – preparation of thin sections for electron microscopy
  • LKB Knife Maker – preparation of glass knives for cutting thin sections 
  • Reichert Microtome – preparation of thick tissue sections for light microscopy 
  • Tissue Tek Staining Station – staining of tissue sections for light microscopy 
  • Tissue Tek Paraffin Dispenser – embedding of cell and tissue samples for histological analysis

Molecular Biology/Genetic Engineering Equipment & Facilities

  • Digital gel photography systems for recording and analysis of results of gel electrophoresis
  • Thermocyclers for amplification of DNA using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) 
  • Horizontal gel boxes and power packs for separation of DNA and RNA molecules 
  • Turbo-blotter for rapid preparation of Southern blots for DNA analysis 
  • U.V. Cross linker for attaching DNA to nylon filters 
  • SequiGene Vertical Gel Apparatus for sequencing DNA 
  • Gene Pulser Electroporator for rapid transformation of genetically engineered bacteria 
  • Bellco hybridization ovens for incubation of Southern blots with nucleotide probes 
  • X-ray film processor for detection of autoradiographic and chemiluminescent signals 
  • Luminometer for analysis of transient transfection with luciferase reporter genes 
  • BioRad Smartspec spectrophotometers for measurement of DNA and RNA concentrations 
  • Beckman centrifuges for fractionation of macromolecules


  • Polygraphs for recording of nerve impulses
  • WPI High Impedance Amplifiers for recording of intracellular action potentials 
  • Actographs for monitoring of activity from invertebrate animals 
  • Recirculating Seawater System for maintenance of living marine specimens 
  • Biopac Physiology hardware and software for experimental analysis of factors such as EKG and EEG 
  • Patch clamp system for analysis of single cells 
  • Extremely fine pipette maker to pull micropipettes for probing single cells

Protein Chemistry/Biotechnology

  • BioRad mini gel boxes for SDS PAGE and Western blotting
  • Liquid Scintillation Counter for quantification of radioactive label in biological compounds 
  • Hoeffer and BioRad Vertical Gel Apparatus for separation of protein by size and charge 
  • BioRad Chromatography Unit for separation of macromolecules by size, shape, charge and affinity 
  • Savant SpeedVac for concentration and purification of dilute protein samples
  • BioRad Gel Dryer for stabilization of agarose and PAGE gels for autoradiography and storage 
  • Pharmacia PhastSystem for rapid separation of protein samples 
  • Cecil CE3021 spectrophotometer and BioRad smartspec 3000 for protein determination 
  • Multiple high pressure liquid chromatography systems for protein purification 
  • Bilayer system for studying kinetics of drug and ion channel interactions 
  • Spectrofluorimeter for detection of fluorescent molecules and quantification of protein-protein interaction 
  • Silicon Graphics Fuel workstation with Insight II software for modeling biological molecules in three dimensions