Undergraduate


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Equipment

Carson-Newman has acquired some of the best biochemistry equipment to be found in any liberal arts college in the Southeastern US. All of our biochemical instruments are research-grade and are available to any student for use. We have the instrumentation capabilities of many larger research universities. The major pieces of equipment and facilities described are grouped by area of use.

Spectroscopy:

Analysis of molecules based on their spectral (light-absorbing) properties. We have five spectrophotometers that scan in the UV/visible range; six fixed wavelength microplate readers that can read up to 96 samples in only a few seconds for high throughput screening; a scanning fluorescence spectrophotometer and microplate readers that use fluorescence or luminescence. These biochemically-oriented spectral instruments are supplemented by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), infrared (IR), and mass (MS) spectrometers in the chemistry department.

Chromatography:

Separation of molecules based on their size, charge, or polarity—usually by passing them through a properly chosen absorbent column. These are typically used to purify and/or analyze proteins, lipids, or small molecules like drugs.

We have several specially configured systems for fast protein liquid chromatography (FPLC, 3 units), high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC, 5 units), and gas chromatography (GC, 5 units). These are equipped with various detectors including UV/visible, fluorescence, conductivity, electrochemical, and mass selective detectors. Many also have fraction collectors and automatic injectors.

Centrifugation:

Separation of particles (cells, organelles, molecules) based on their size, weight, or density using a strong centrifugal force. We have over two dozen centrifuges in most possible of the possible configurations-- ranging from small table-top units for quick, low-speed spins at student workstations up to large floor-standing ultracentrifuges capable of g forces up to 600,000 x gravity.

Electrophoresis:

Separation of molecules based on their size, charge, or polarity by using an electric field to drive them through a selected semisolid medium. We have both high and low voltage, preparative and analytical units as well as a free-flow unit (Rotofor cell), a completely automated unit (Phast system), and image analysis (FluoroMax) capability for quantitation of the resolved bands. We also have an automated system for protein (Western) blotting.

Microscopy:

We have many bright-field, phase-contrast, and fluorescence microscopes with imaging capability to visualize cell shape and the subcellular distribution of molecules.

Gene analysis:

We have two DNA sequencers (ABI 310) that are based on capillary electrophoresis of labeled DNA fragments. We have several thermal cyclers for running PCR (polymerase chain reactions) including a gradient cycler (Eppendorf) and a real-time PCR unit (ABI 9600) for quantitative gene expression analysis.

Calorimetry:

Thermal transitions of molecules can be monitored by Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC). We have a Microcal DSC-2 high sensitivity unit for analysis of lipids and proteins.