Biological Sciences Research Facilities
The Department of Biological Sciences is housed in the recently completed LaKretz Hall, part of the new Annenberg Science Complex, and the original Biological Sciences building. New facilities in LaKretz Hall include a teleconferencing room complete with video capability, digital projectors and screens, and a hospitality center.
A Perkin-Elmer DNA microarray scanner, and a Biacore Model X surface plasmon resonance spectrometer for studying the interactions of proteins and small molecules, are housed in the BEAMS (Biological and Environmental Analysis and Micro-Sampling) lab, a core facility funded by Research Infrastructure in Minority Serving Institutions grant from the National Institutes of Health.
Biology faculty were co-investigators on a major research instrumentation grant from the National Science Foundation that brought a proteome analyzer to CSULA, housed in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, including 2D protein gel capability and a MALDI-TOF mass spectrometer. Using this collection of instruments, researchers can detect and visualize all proteins expressed in a tissue sample, and identify specific proteins of interest through their mass spectrometric fragmentation patterns.
The Omnilog enables testing and identification of aerobic Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. In addition, its Phenotype Microarrays application for mammalian cells can reveal information on metabolic pathway activities, and cellular sensitivity to nutrients, hormones, cytokines, anti-cancer agents, and ions. Also, the Omnilog performs analysis for genotype-phenotype characterization as well as for determining optimal conditions for cellular growth, sporulation and germination, production of secondary metabolites, or enzymatic activities of microbial cells.
The Accuri C6 flow cytometer is equipped with two lasers and four detectors to support cell analysis for up to six parameters. Some of its applications include measurements of apoptosis and cell cycle, and detection of cell surface and intracellular protein expression.
LaKretz Hall houses a molecular ecology core facility featuring shared equipment for student and faculty research and includes a sample concentrator, Fotodyne workstation for digital photographs of gels, and water baths. A Nanodrop spectrometer is used to quantify and assess purity of nucleic acids and proteins. Multiple real-time PCR instruments and thermal cyclers are available for PCR amplification and sequencing reactions. We also have a Versadoc Gel Imaging System.
Electron and Fluorescent Microscopy
For confocal microscopy, an Olympus Fluoview FV500 point-scanning, point-detection confocal laser scanning unit is mounted on an Olympus IX-71 inverted, motorized microscope. Lasers offer a range of excitation wavelengths (multi-line argon, Helium Neon, and Blue Diode), while image acquisition and processing software allow digital image analysis, time course studies, and 3D image reconstruction.
A Nikon inverted epifluorescent microscope is used to visualize intracellular structures of cells using up to four different fluorescent signals at a time. The microscope is used in classes to image mitochondria, vacuoles and chromosomes, and in student research to monitor the subcellular localization of specific proteins.
Freezers and Cold Rooms
LaKretz Hall features a range of growth chambers and environmental rooms for temperature-controlled work. Faculty share several –80C freezers for sample storage as part of the molecular ecology core facility.
All faculty members and staff are provided baseline computers or baseline notebooks and research-active faculty maintain computers in their laboratories for student use and/or specialized research applications. Internet access is provided by the University. There are also two computer classrooms (BS 236 and BS 241), each with 24 networked student workstations, with priority availability for courses in the Biological Sciences. The popular Virtual Courseware Project web site was also developed and is maintained by faculty and staff in the Department. This web site hosts several interactive simulation activities for K-12 and college science education.
Greenhouse and Culture Facilities
The Department of Biological Sciences maintains an aluminum-glass greenhouse facility adjacent to the Biological Sciences building. There are two connected rooms with 2,135 sq ft of floor space. The facility includes heating, cooling, plumbing, and fluorescent lighting. There are fixed and movable plant benches. The greenhouses are currently used for instruction and plant collections and are available for research use.
Department faculty maintain a 1,200 gallon re-circulating salt water aquarium system, used for culture of marine invertebrates for instructional purposes and for research. Animal care facilities are also available.
Museum and Herbarium
The department also houses the CSULA Zoological Museum and Herbarium Collections, used in both teaching and research. The natural history collections include extant and fossil plants, birds and their eggs and nests, insects and marine invertebrates, mammals and fish. The extensive entomological holdings comprise seven orders of Insecta and three orders of Arachnids. The botanical collections comprise approximately 37,000 vascular plant specimens representing 245 families.