In 2010, Arcadia University’s Biology Department was awarded a National Science Foundation grant totaling $666,812 to renovate cell and molecular biology core facilities. Now the award is being put to use, funding the needed renovations to the cell, molecular and developmental biology research laboratories, located in the west wing of Boyer Hall. The award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) (Public Law 111-5).
The new facilities will expand research opportunities in the areas of population genetics of snake species, systematics of brown algae, heterokont phylogenomics population genetics of marine and terrestrial organisms, neuronal cell biology and biochemistry, neuroimmunology, and transcription regulation. Undergraduate research opportunities will be expanded in the areas of population genetics, systematics and phylogeneomics, cell biology and immunobiology, and transcription regulation.
“The renovations will allow enhanced training of undergraduate students in cell, molecular, and developmental biology as well as additional faculty research and faculty-mentored student research projects,” says Dr. Lauretta M. Bushar, Associate Professor and Chair of Biology, who is helping to oversee the project. “We are expecting to include more students presenting at local meetings such as Sigma Xi, Scientific Research Society, and more student co-authorship on faculty presentations and publications.”
The National Science Foundation funds research and education in most areas of science and engineering and accounts for about one-fourth of federal support to academic institutions for basic research. Under the direction of Bushar; Edward G. Orner, Aramark Facilities; Dr. Naomi Phillips, Associate Professor of Biology; Dr. Sheryl T. Smith, Assistant Professor of Biology; and Dr. Wesley Rose, Assistant Professor of Biology, the project has taken a considerable amount of time and attention, as each step took meticulous planning and documentation.
“The NSF grants a specified sum of money which covers everything from the architectural commissioning through the completed construction,” says Orner. “The federal government allocates portions of the budget to each step of the process—design, construction, demolition—and we have to justify through writing and photos, everything that we do.”
Nearing the end of this long process, six second floor laboratories are currently under construction. The facilities will be upgraded to include electric, vacuum, and gas, and supplemental HVAC. The casework, ceilings, light fixtures will be replaced and impervious laminate countertops, flooring are being added. Fume hoods also will be added to each room, which connect to a state-of-the-art rooftop exhaust system. Additional renovations to the data and alarm systems will also be included. An ADA-compliant cold room is being added and a Millipore Water Purification System also was purchased with the grant funds.
The laboratories will be completed for the beginning of the Fall 2011 semester.