General Biology Lab

Teaching labs such as this one feature several smaller tables where students often work in teams to complete experiments.  Two additional cabinets (foreground) are used for demonstration materials.  Over the two semesters of general biology, lab exercises focus on the basic principles of biology including evolution, cellular/molecular biology, genetics, and the diversity of life.  

Second General Biology Lab

Our second general biology lab is the mirror image of the first.  Why do we need two labs?  At Siena, class sizes are small and this includes introductory courses.  We typically have well over 100 students enrolled in our general biology courses, but each lab section will have 18 students or less.  Each lab is taught by a faculty member.  There are no teaching assistants.

General Biology Prep Room

Each of our main teaching laboratories is flanked by support spaces.  These include rooms used to prepare, equipment and other materials in support of the teaching activities taking place in the main lab.  The Departments full-time technician spends much of her time in this room, assisting faculty in "prepping" general biology labs. 


Recitation Room

Down the hall a few steps from the general biology labs is our recitation room.  This multipurpose space is equipped with a computer projection system. It serves as a satellite facility for teaching labs – students may use the computers to analyze data, work on group projects, or perform computer simulations/web-searches under direction of faculty. It also is used for meetings and some small classes.  Computers along the side are available for student use when no class is in session.  Note that biology majors have access to Morrell and Roger Bacon 24/7 

Cell Biology Lab

Each fall semester, six sections of Cell Biology for sophomore biology majors run in this laboratory. Students perform experiments to stain and identify cell organelles, isolate proteins by electrophoresis, fractionate cellular components by differential centrifugation, and measure enzyme function in mitochondria and chloroplasts. In the spring semester, one or more upper level courses are taught here. In Microbiology, students isolate microorganisms and culture them on various media to determine their morphological and physiological characteristics. Students also conduct more advanced experiments to reveal the biological activities of bacteria and other microorganisms.  In Plant Physiology, investigate plant water relations, photosynthesis and metabolism and how plants respond to changes in their environment. 

Microscopy Lab

This multipurpose facility supports fluorescence microscopy projects for Cell Biology as well as a host of other experiments requiring advanced microscopy methods. The room also functions as a "digital darkroom" to support both teaching and research needs. 

Tissue Culture

This room allows students and faculty to carry out experiments requiring sterile conditions. The facility features two laminar-flow hoods (large unit to the left) and CO2 and other incubators for growing cultured cells under tightly controlled conditions.

Biochemistry Lab

In the biochemistry lab, students first learn basic techniques for isolation of proteins and analysis of enzyme kinetics. This is followed by a long term project in which student teams purify a protein using chromatography and gel-electrophoresis equipment. Another lab course that might be scheduled for this room is Molecular Biology, in which a variety of sophisticated equipment and advanced techniques are used to isolate, clone and express genes from both bacteria and mammalian cells.

Cell/Molecular Prep Room

This multipurpose support room is located adjacent to the biochemistry lab.  It contains equipment to support both teaching and research in cellular and molecular biology. The equipment list includes a scintillation counter, table-top ultracentrifuge, transilluminator, shaking water baths, microbalances, pH meters, UV/VIS spectrophotometers, and miscellaneous electrophoresis, chromatography, and protein assay equipment. 

Heavy Equipment Room

This room contains some of the larger pieces of equipment used in cellular and molecular biology.  In this view, you can see  two large centrifuges. In the far corner is a refrigerated unit used extensively (and that means by students) in the cell biology course.  The other unit (foreground) is an ultracentrifuge used to separate organelles, proteins, and nucleic acids. The other end of the room contains a pair of –80 C freezers used to store laboratory chemicals, e.g. proteins and nucleic acids, that require ultralow temperatures to remain stable.  

Autoclave Room

This departmental support room contains an autoclave for sterilizing glassware and solutions used in tissue culture, microbiology, and other applications.  It also has a dishwasher and sink.

RB 132 Neurobiology

An upper level course in Neurobiology (BIOL-440) is offered in this laboratory during the fall semester. Students learn how to record the electrical activity of neurons using microelectrodes. In subsequent labs, students inject neurons with fluorescent dyes, study impulse conduction and synaptic transmission, and analyze the properties of neuronal circuits. The semester ends with a student-designed independent project. In the spring, this lab is used to teach General Biology for Social Sciences labs, a required course for Psychology majors. Students dissect preserved specimens to learn the anatomy of various organs. In addition, they carry out physiology experiments and computer simulations to learn fundamental principles of human physiology.

RB 122 Ecology

Every biology major will take at least one course in the organismic and population biology course area.  A number of "field courses" fulfill this requirement including Ecology, Biology of the Vertebrates, Behavioral Ecology, Plant Ecology and Tropical or Marine Biology.  Labs emphasize field trips to sites both near and far.  Lab for tropical or marine biology, for example, consists of a two-week trip to the Bahamas.