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Research Facilities and Resources

Histology/ultrastructure core laboratories

These laboratory areas contain equipment and facilities for light microscopy and electron microscopy. Sample preparation areas include a cryostat, fume hoods, a large ventilated enclosed bench area, automated tissue processor, wax embedder sectioning instruments, including two ultramicrotomes, a Pyramicrotome and a JB4 microtome, a critical point dryer, and a vacuum sputter coater. Photomicroscopes for light microscopy include fluorescence, dark field, light field, polarizing and phase contrast. A scanning electron microscope with an x-ray analysis detector and a transmission electron microscope are supervised and maintained by a certified electron microscopist.

Image analysis core equipment

Automated image analysis is performed using the Image Pro Plus imaging software, which is capable of analyzing captured video images of nearly every image format. Suitable image sources include light microscope, scanning electron microscope, flatbed scanner, digital camera or 35mm transparencies. This software also provides statistical analysis and direct downloading of data to spreadsheet programs or other statistical software. Polarized light images of mineralized tissue can be digitized and analyzed directly using an Olympus BX-50 polarized light microscope and Spot RT high resolution camera coupled to a dedicated PC with high resolution monitor. Digitized images and any measurements derived from these images can be archived to DVD or transferred to any networked PC for further analysis or statistical evaluation. Also available are two FBTIV-816 transilluminators and two FB-PDC-34 PhotoDocumentation camera systems.

Tissue culture core lab

Facilities permitting preparation and maintenance of primary isolates, organ cultures, and long-term cultures are available. Monoclonal antibodies can be produced. Equipment includes incubators and laminar flow safety hoods for tissue preparation and cell, tissue, or organ culture.


There are two sterilization and glasswashing rooms, two water purification systems and a storeroom for glassware, supplies and chemicals. A large walk-in cold room is used to store materials, reagents and also has bench space. Sample storage facilities include liquid nitrogen storage containers, several -90 degree freezers and other freezers.

Oral soft tissue

Perfusion chambers for isotopic measurements of molecular flow across tissues: Sorvall tissue chopper and Sherwood vibratome for sectioning unembedded soft tissues. Equipment for lipid analysis by thin layer chromatography, high pressure chromatography gas chromatography. N-evap for drying samples, rotary evaporator, fume hood for prep work and an acid resistant hood for sulfuric acid spraying. Two gyratory shakers, electrophoresis equipment (vertical and horizontal units) a ultraviolet transilluminate camera with hood, and a camera for photodocumentation of nucleic acids are also available. There is a GTI/Spectrovision FD-500 fluorimeter and a Labconco Centrivap concentrator.

Dental biomaterials

Equipment for biomaterials research include a Zwick Advanced Materials Testing System, which is computer-driven for automated testing of tensile compression and flexing, as well as fatigue and resilience. Other equipment includes an induction casting machine, potentiostat, gold film mercury detector and a thermocycler. Two Buehler grinder polishers are available as well as an Economent. Two Isomet saws and a high speed saw are used to prepare and examine biomaterials. A Harrick plasma cleaner is used to prepare surfaces for comparisons of interactions with biological materials.

Cariology and microbiology

A Silverstone-Taylor hard tissue microtome and Olympus and Nikon polarized light microscopes are available for mineralized tissue preparation and evaluation. Research requiring automated titration, pH stat or chemostat conditions may be performed using the Metrohm pH stat system and associated microprocessor. Ion-specific electrodes are also available to measure fluoride concentration in water, foods or other materials. Elemental analysis is available using a Fisher atomic absorption spectrophotometer. There is a New Brunswick Bioflo Fermenter available as well as two Coy Anaerobic Chambers, a Microbiology International Anaerobic Chamber, a spiral plater, and a real-time PCR.

Molecular biology and biochemistry

Equipment available for biochemical and molecular analysis includes UV and visible light spectrophotometers, a Coulter counter, gas chromatographs, an ultracentrifuge, and gamma and scintillation counters. Gell electrophoresesis equipment is available for molecular biology, including probe preparation and identification equipment.

Information resources

The collegiate librarian provides online computer literature searches and database search instructions for faculty, staff, and students, in groups or individually.  Health-related databases and other electronic resources are provided electronically by the Hardin Library for the Health Sciences. Information on funding opportunities from federal and other sources, and assistance with using University of Iowa Libraries, are also provided by the collegiate librarian.

Statistical consulting and grant preparation

A joint-appointed statistician works with faculty who are gathering pilot data and planning projects for submission of externally funded grant applications. Assistance with proposal writing and budget preparation is also available in the Dows Institute.