Miami Microbiology Research Facilities
An Academic Challenge Award from the Selective Excellence Program of the State of Ohio, NSF equipment grants in excess of $750,000 and a portion of the interdepartmental $1,000,000 Howard Hughes Medical Research Institute award have provided sophisticated, state-of-the-art equipment, post-doctoral fellowships and distinguished lecturers that have enhanced our research programs and been helpful in recruiting highly qualified faculty and excellent students. The research equipment in the Department allows our faculty and graduate students to carry out technically sophisticated research projects in microbiology. We have state-of-the-art equipment for the synthesis of specific DNAs to probe and study unique genetic information, flow cytometric analyses of specific tumor cells, virus-infected cells, and immune-specific cells, and molecular characterizations by high performance liquid chromatography. Research equipment is also housed in common facilities that provide graduate students and faculty access to shared equipment such as autoclaves, cold rooms, photography, computer-imaging, microscopy, scintillation and gamma counters, phosphorimaging, and ultracentrifugation.
The three biological science departments are housed mainly in Pearson Hall, which was completed in 1986. This 22 million dollar building contains approximately 110,000 ft² of assignable space and 23 teaching laboratories. Located in Pearson Hall are departmental office complexes for each department, consisting of the main office, a faculty and student mail room, an office equipment room, and a conference room. Pearson Hall also contains offices and research laboratories for each member of the faculty, offices for postdoctoral fellows and graduate students, four lecture rooms, 12 cold rooms, and 10 walk-in environmental rooms with photoperiod and temperature control. Several specialized facilities are located in or adjacent to Pearson Hall, including the Center for Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics, the Electron Microscopy Facility, and the Animal Care Facility. In addition to the aforementioned special facilities, there exists genetic cloning rooms, tissue culture rooms, isotope rooms, a greenhouse, and several special equipment rooms.
We have recently completed renovation of the old Animal Care Facility into into five new research labs with student support areas and faculty offices. A sixth lab suite houses the relocated Center for Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics.
Computing and Bioinformatics
Bioinformatics lies at the core of molecular biology research. The deluge of data from high throughput sequencing and structural and functional genomics assays requires strong computational power as well as a proficiency in computational analyses to understand the meaning of these data and to place them in their proper biological context. The Department of Microbiology is equipped with graphic workstations for visualizations, a cluster computer and a server with a TimeLogic DeCypher® card for rapid genomic and metagenomic analysis. The department also offers a course in bioinformatics for undergraduate and graduate students as well as practical "hands-on" training for students and postdocs.
In addition, Miami University has a High Performance Computing (HPC) system that is available to all researchers at Miami. The Research Computing Support (RCS) group of IT Services provides support for users of this system. RCS provides access to the Redhawk Cluster, as well as access to the Ohio Supercomputing Center for high throughput computational needs.
The CBFG is a state of the art research and training facility available for all members of the university. The center also maintains many state of the art pieces of equipment to assist bioinformatic and functional genomic research at Miami University. These include multi- and single-capillary automated DNA analyzers, thermocyclers digital imagers, DNA microarray analyzers, Biomek FX liquid handling system, and workstations for bioinformatics research.
Renovated in 2010, the 5,400 ft² CAMI houses 2 scanning electron microscopes, 3 transmission electron microscopes, 3 laser scanning confocal microscopes, a deconvolution light microscope, a wide-field multimode light microscope, and a fluorescence stereoscope system. Digital images can be captured from a diversity of input sources including direct digitizing from the microscopes, video cameras, VCRs, copystand dSLR cameras, and high resolution film and flatbed scanners. It is staffed by two full-time employees.
Miami University's ERC, located less than 3 miles from campus, is a 175-acre field site dedicated to research and education in ecology and environmental science. The center is a focal point for faculty and student research and field exercises for undergraduate and graduate-level courses.
This 69-hectare field station contains a diversity of field sites and facilities that support both aquatic and terrestrial research. In addition the ERC provides the tools and equipment needed to maintain field plots and the ERC staff are available to provide advice and assistance in the design and fabrication of research apparatuses and sampling devices.
Adjacent to Pearson Hall in the Psychology Building and completed in 2009, this 13,000 ft² facility includes specific pathogen-free transgenic animal suites, 2 surgical rooms and adjacent treatment and prep areas, conventional animal rooms, and a separate wing housing wild-caught species. The 2500 ft² aquatics facilities has 3 test rooms, 2 laboratories and 2 large culture rooms. The cage wash area contains a rack and cage washer, tunnel washer, as well as a pass-through autoclave. The staff includes 5 full-time employees plus student labor.