Facilities and Equipment in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Facilities and equipment are very important to our success in preparing undergraduates for professional schools, graduate schools, and the workforce. 

Our faculty have diverse interests (and, therefore, equipment needs) that include projects at the molecular/cellular, whole-organism, and field levels.  These projects include work with bacteria, plants, invertebrates (corals and mussels), amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, rocks/minerals, and water systems.  Our department is located in the 104,939 square foot Science Center which opened in 2009.  Each faculty member has individualized research space where students work collaboratively with their professors and learn the essential skills of becoming scientists.  The teaching labs are equipped with the essentials like microscopes, pipettors, gel boxes, balances, incubators, dissection equipment, limnological equipment, and specimens (just to name a few things).  We also have more specialized equipment in shared spaces and in the research labs, including the following. 

Science Center

Otterbein’s state-of-the-art Science Center opened in October 2009. Within the Science Center there are also more than 96,000 square feet of discipline-specific laboratories, research space and classrooms including a machine shop, electrical/electronic lab and a freshmen engineering lab.

BMB Facilities

Tissue Culture

The BMB program is home to two fully outfitted tissue culture rooms complete with CO2 incubators, laminar flow hoods and inverted microscopes. These facilities are used in several classes including Immunology, Molecular Genetics, and Advanced Biochemistry Lab. Student research in these facilities has resulted in over 80 student presentations at national conferences.

X-Ray Diffraction

The chemistry department has facilities for structure determination including X-Ray diffraction and thermal analysis for materials characterization.  Our instrumentation includes:

  • Bruker APEXII Single-Crystal X-ray Diffractometer
  • Rigaku MiniFlex II Powder X-ray Diffractometer
  • TA Instruments DSC 2010 Differential Scanning Calorimeter

Students encounter these instruments in courses on X-ray diffraction, physical chemistry, and advanced biochemistry as well as in research.

Microbiology Laboratory

Many BMB students either take a course in microbiology or work on microbiology research projects. Otterbein maintains several standard incubators and shaking incubators, two industrial autoclaves and a benchtop autoclave, and dozens of light microscopes in addition to our Olympus BX-40 phase-fluorescence microscope with digital image capture. Media preparation and stockroom areas are staffed for course and research support. This equipment supports research and laboratory courses in areas such as bioinformatics, general microbiology, environmental microbiology and microbial genetics.

Mass Spectrometry

The chemistry department hosts several instruments including our liquid chromatography mass spectrometry system (a Thermo Fisher HPLC LCQ Fleet Ion Trap MS) which is used in peptide and protein identification and characterization. In addition the program is home to several other instruments used in protein and small molecule identification and characterization:

  • Fisons Instruments GC8000/MD800 Gas Chromatograph / Mass Spectrometer
  • Thermo Finnigan Gradient HPLC with Diode Array Detector
  • GE Pharmacia AKTA Prime Protein Chromatography Workstation

As with all of our instrumentation, our students are trained on the use of the instrument and use these instruments in research.

Cell Imaging

Students use our Olympus BX-40 phase fluorescence microscope in undergraduate research in both the Bennett and Tansey laboratories. This instrument is also used in Advanced Biochemistry laboratory.