Staff and student researchers have access to a range of different laboratories, a large Climate Controlled Chamber, and a plant growth room. The research laboratories within the School are dedicated to:
Our researchers work with immortalised cell lines and are concerned with the molecular aspects that mediate leukaemogenesis. Utilising various molecular techniques, including, lentiviral transduction and CRISPR, we are investigating the role of developmental and metabolic genes in the promotion and treatment of leukaemia.
To conduct this research, we have a Biosafety level 2 cell human cell culture facility, which includes MACS® magnetic cell sorting (Miltenyi Biotec) and a Guavacyte multiparameter flow cytometer (Merk-Millipore). We also have several fluorescence microscopes used for cell imaging.
Molecular plant and Microbial biology
We are well equipped to study plant-microbe interactions. We have the capabilities to: 1) generate molecular markers for accelerated plant breeding, 2) investigate the role of microbial biological control agents to protect plants from fungal and oomycete diseases, and 3) explore small RNAs for plant protection. We are also able to perform DNA/RNA quality analysis and small-scale sequencing (MinION).
To carry out this research we have high performance computing facilities, growth cabinets, and state of the art equipment such as the Agilent TapeStation system, and high spec microscopes for image analysis, all within our fully equipped molecular laboratories.
Lipidomics (study of lipids)
Diseases with a metabolic background are known to interfere with the composition and function of lipids. Our tools are used to detect molecular manifestations of diseases, predicting disease progression and possible outcomes, and also adherence to and effectiveness of treatments.
The lipidomics lab is equipped with a Shimadzu HPLC-MS and a GC-FID, alongside sample concentrators and extensive chromatographic equipment. Samples collected from our cell culture, as well as human samples and food samples, can be analysed for their phospholipid and neutral lipid composition.
Monoclonal antibody production
We currently lead several immunodiagnostic research projects, centred primarily on the development of rapid point-of-care tests for diagnosing infection diseases of the eye and lung.
We have a separate Biosafety level 2 facility, dedicated to the culture of hybridoma cells for the production of monoclonal antibodies. We have the equipment required to perform ELISA, and the small batch production of lateral flow devices (LFD), similar to those used for COVID-19 testing.
The Biochemistry lab is equipped with refrigerated orbital incubators for large-scale protein expression, sonicator, AKTAPure chromatography system, SDS-PAGE and Western-blotting equipment, a Pxi system for visible, chemiluminescent and fluorescent imaging and vibration-free cooled incubator for protein crystal growth.
The School is superbly equipped to perform investigations into a range of environmental variables: The detection of heavy-metal contamination and the analysis of soil micro-nutrients using Microwave Plasma Atomic Emission Spectrometers (MP-AES); determining the composition of microplastics in food and sediment samples using Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR); the analysis of samples for pesticide residuals using Gas Chromatography With Flame Ionization Detection (GCFID); and measuring pollutants such as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) using Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GCMS).