World class facilities, including the best microscopy suite within a European marine laboratory, allow us to manipulate, investigate and analyse areas of cell science from the microscopic to the molecular level.
As an internationally renowned centre for cell and molecular biology, the MBA laboratories are a lively hub of cutting edge science and research. As a dynamic and constantly changing team, we currently have over 30 scientists consisting of research fellows, post-doctoral researchers, PhD students, masters and under-graduate students.
Our ever-expanding department attracts top-class scientists from around the world to work with our dedicated team of research fellows. Our multi-disciplinary research projects are working on a wide variety of different organisms including phytoplankton, bacteria, viruses, fungi, lichens, choanoflagellates, sponges, honeybees, cetaceans and elasmobranchs as well as mammalian and insect cell lines.
Our laboratories are exceptionally well equipped with facilities for all types of cell culturing, a wide range of microscopy and all aspects of molecular biology from PCR and electrophoresis to gene transformation and biolistics.
"Almost all aspects of life are engineered at the molecular level, and without understanding molecules we can only have a very sketchy understanding of life itself." – Francis Crick
Our world-class Microscopy suite is generously equipped for live cell imaging, with the following microscopy facilities:
- A range of stereo and compound microscopes, including several fluorescence microscopes.
- A polarised light microscope (Nikon) for imaging birefringent materials, such as the calcium carbonate shells of some marine algae (e.g. coccolithophores).
- Epifluorescent, confocal and 2-photon microscopes, including:
- a Mesolens microscope for high resolution brightfield and fluorescent imaging of very large fields of view.
- a Leica TCS SP8 DLS microscope that combines both confocal and light sheet microscopy capability.
- a Zeiss PALM MicroBeam laser capture microdissection microscope for imaging and isolation of individual cells.
- a Nikon total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) system with multi-wavelength excitation and emission, and a Photometrics EM-CCD camera.
- a Bio-Rad Radiance confocal system on a Nikon upright microscope, equipped with argon, HeNe and blue diode lasers providing, near UV, blue, green and red excitation.
- a Zeiss LSM 510 confocal/multiphoton system with argon, and red and green HeNe confocal lasers, providing a range of excitation wavelengths. This system is also equipped with a Spectraphysics Mai-Tai tuneable IR laser providing 2-photon excitation across a range of wavelengths.
- a Leica DMi8 epifluorescent microscope equipped for live cell imaging with a Photometrics 95B Prime camera and a Pecon environmental control chambers for precise control of temperature, O2 and CO2. Epifluorescent illumination is provided by a Lumencor SpectraX allowing a wide variety of excitation wavelengths.
- a fluorescence kinetic microscope (Photon Systems Instruments) for measuring kinetic chlorophyll fluorescence parameters in single cells or even single chloroplasts.
We also have an extensive electrophysiology capability to complement our microscopy facility. A comprehensive range of patch clamp, voltage clamp (single and 2-electrode) recording apparatus is available for use with bright field, fluorescence and confocal microscopy. Facilities are also available for single cell microinjection and laser microsurgery. There is also a Xenopus oocyte microinjection and recording facility for heterologous expression of membrane transporters.
Our cell-culturing facilities support most areas of our research. These include:
- Controlled temperature rooms with light regulation
- Laminar flow hoods cabinets and class II cabinets
- Incubators and shakers
Many research projects at Citadel Hill utilise molecular tools to study a wide range of organisms including viruses, bacteria, phytoplankton, fish, honey bees and fungus.
- DNA, RNA and Protein Purification
- Quantitative PCR (SYBR Green, High Resolution Melt and probes up to 5-plex)
- Liquid Handling Robot
- Sample quantification (Nanodrop, spectrophotometers and Bioanylyser)
- Electrophoresis Gel documentation system
- Plate readers
- PCR Thermal cyclers
- Liquid handling robot