During the last several years, we have upgraded the research facilities throughout the department and college. We have created several state-of the-art shared instrumentation laboratories that enable our students and faculty to have access to sophisticated instruments whose purchase and maintenance costs far exceed the budgets of individual investigators. Two of these shared instrument laboratories center around biological imaging, for both electron and light microscopy, including a brand-new field-emission scanner, a new confocal microscope and an image reconstruction/deconvolution microscope. A newly established shared laboratory augments existing sequencing facilities on campus and serves the molecular geneticists for the large-scale processing and sequencing of nucleic acids, with multiple robotic sequencers and real time PCR.
Other core facilities in the department and elsewhere on campus provide instrumentation for fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) and analysis, NMR, and mass spectrometry. Equipment and analytical instruments are available in both faculty and core laboratories for the maintenance of animal and plant tissue cultures, for the production of monoclonal antibodies, for the synthesis and micro-analysis of proteins, for large-scale fermentation and cultivation of microorganisms, and for computer assisted molecular modeling. Support staffing in shared instrumentation facilities is provided by the college, and maintenance costs have been subsidized by the college, thereby providing even occasional users with appropriate training and access, and simultaneously, keeping instrument use costs low. We have found that this strategy provides exceptional opportunities for research and training, and enables our students to perform experiments with instrumentation that is at the leading edge of technology.