Biology Department Highlights

Equipment highlights in Biology lab space include the following:

  • Beckman ultracentrifuge, top of the line
  • Sorvall bench top centrifuge
  • Sorvall refrigerated centrifuge
  • Eppendorf microcentrifuge
  • Incubator shaker used for growing liquid bacterial or yeast cultures
  • Several standard incubators used for growing bacterial or yeast cultures on solid media
  • Nanodrop UV/VIS spectrophotometer
  • Eppendorf gradient thermal cycler
  • Electrophoresis equipment to separate DNA and proteins

So, what will all this stuff allow us to do? We have already described the function of the incubators and the electrophoresis equipment. The various centrifuges allow us to use centrifugal force to isolate cellular organelles and to isolate and purify biomolecules from cell extracts. The Nanodrop will allow us to do DNA, RNA and protein quantitation (as well as assess purity), using just a microliter of sample volume! The thermal cycler is used for PCR and cycle sequencing of DNA.

In the cell culture lab we have two new CO2 incubators, a cell/tissue growth chamber (currently used primarily for Dr. Andy Whipple’s azalea culture work), a laminar flow hood (used for sterile manipulation of cultured vertebrate cells), an inverted microscope (for viewing cultured cells), and a fluorescence microscope (used for visualizing fluorescently tagged molecules in cells). Unlike large universities that can show students lots of cool equipment that only are for the graduate students, post-docs, and professors, everything here at Taylor is here for the undergraduate students to use.

The Comparative Anatomy/Microbiology lab’s most remarkable feature is its individual student hoods which allow students to position their own hood so as to draw fumes and irritants away from them as they work, rather than past their faces into ceiling vents. This room also has, as do all of the rooms, dedicated computer presentation equipment, allowing professors to utilize the best of video, animation and document ancillaries in the laboratory.

The Cell Biology/Genetics room has been specifically equipped so that students in those freshman and sophomore level courses receive training and instruction in areas related to DNA research, PCR and protein synthesis, which will lead them to successfully master those techniques as upper division students in the Molecular Genetics and Cell/Molecular classes.