The Departments of Biology and Chemistry at Southern Oregon University recently established an undergraduate research facility dedicated to study in the interdisciplinary fields of biotechnology. Part of SOU's commitment to undergraduate science education, the Biotechnology Research Center was made possible through a National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation grant and through a generous award from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust together totaling almost $400,000.
The Center is currently being used for research on a wide range or organisms and environments, such as investigating the composition and structure of networks of mycorrhizal fungi in oak woodlands, the isolation and molecular characterization of novel microbes from unique environments such as acid mine drainage and the ultra-oligotrophic Crater Lake, the characterization of the microbial communities of serpentine soils, and the phylogeography of pine martens in the Pacific Northwest. The resources of the Center allows student and faculty researchers to apply state-of-the-art equipment and molecular biology techniques to investigate field-oriented questions in our local environment, the biologically diverse and complex Klamath-Siskiyou region.
The well-equipped Center enables researchers to perform a full range of manipulations on both DNA and proteins, from cloning and sequencing of DNA to the purification and analysis of novel proteins. The instrumentation in the Center includes
- An Applied Biosystems ABI310 capillary DNA sequencer
- Sorvall 5C-Plus ultraspeed centrifuge
- MJ Research Thermal cyclers, and Eppendorf gradient thermal cyclers
- Kodak gel documentation and analysis system
- Forma Scientific ultra low temperature freezer
- Lab-Line Incubated shaker and chromatorgraphy cabinet
- Barnsted water filtration system
- Envirco laminar flow hood
- State-of-the-art computer hardware and software for DNA sequence analysis and phylogenetic analysis
- Accessory equipment for DNA and protein manipulation (microcentrifuges, water baths, electophoresis systems, etc.)
SOU students are fortunate to be able to get hands-on experience and intensive mentoring on a range and quality of research equipment rarely available at similar small liberal arts colleges. The Center continues to be a focus for active grant support by the National Science Foundation and for partnerships with local land management agencies.