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A Tour of The Biology Department's Facilities

The Building

The Dougherty Science Center is a 66,000 square foot teaching and research facility and currently houses the natural sciences division including the department of biology.

The Biology Majors Room

The students have a room near the classrooms and labs where they can study and have informal meetings. It has recently been renovated by the Women of Vision.

Classrooms and Laboratories

The biology department has a variety of classroom formats, each with full multimedia capability to utilize current instructional technologies. The department has ten laboratories, each equipped for a specific type of course ranging from anatomy labs to botany/zoology labs. Some of our more advanced equipment for use in our cell biology or molecular biology courses is described in the equipment section below. The department maintains a cadaver laboratory housing a male and female cadaver for use in both upper and lower level courses on human anatomy.

Chapman Research Lab

The Chapman research lab was more recently constructed in honor of Dr. Joe Chapman. It is equipped for mammalian and yeast cell culture as well as a variety of preparative and analytical procedures.


This facility holds dozens of plants used by our botany and other students. The greenhouse is a National E-Series 600 square foot glass-enclosed heated unit situated on the roof of the science building.

Field Stations

Our area has a variety of unique natural resources for field studies including the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Panther Creek State Park, and Cherokee and Douglas reservoirs and the college’s site in Monroe County, TN.

Both terrestrial and aquatic research is available to students at these sites as well as the Mossy Creek Observation Area in Jefferson City.


Donated to the college for field and environmental studies, the “Dotson Property” (as it is called) is approximately 80 acres located near the city of Madisonville.


We have an incredible array of equipment for an institution of our size.  All of our equipment are research-level instruments and are available to any student for use. Equipment relevant for use in some of our current studies is listed below based on area of use.

        Microscopy -

We have many bright-field, phase-contrast, and fluorescence microscopes with imaging capability to visualize cell morphology and subcellular distribution of molecules.  We also have many inverted microscopes and a laser capture microdissection scope.

        Centrifugation -

Separation of particles (cells, organelles, molecules) based on their size, weight, or density can be achieved by applying strong centrifical forces. We have over two dozen centrifuges in most possible configurations including floor-standing prepartive and ultracentrifuges (capable of g forces up to 600,000xg) and even small table-top units for individual student workstations.

        Gene and Proetin analysis -

We have three real-time PCR units for quantitative gene expression, and many options for evaluation protein expression and function including a BiaCore Biosensor for interaction detection.  We have two flow cytometers for cellular analysis including a FACS Calibur for cell sorting.  

        Spectroscopy -

Analysis of molecules based on their spectral (light-absorbing) properties. We have many spectrophotometers that scan in the UV/visible range; fluorescent, and luminescent, and multimode microplate readers. We also have an LC/MS for drug analysis and a circular dichroism spectrometer.  Additional units such as Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), Infrared (FTIR), and additional Mass (MS) spectrometers are available in the Chemistry department.

        Chromatography -

Separation of molecules based on their size, charge, or polarity can be achieved by various chromatographic procedures, most based on a column configuration. 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 typically used for protein, lipid, or drug analysis or purification.

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