The Catholic University of America

Graduate Programs - Research Facilities

General description

The Department of Biology at The Catholic University of America specializes in biological research at the cellular, subcellular, and molecular levels. Each member of the faculty has sufficient laboratory space to support at least four scientists.

Aside from routine microcentrifuges, microscopes, balances, and refrigerator-freezers, all labs have additional specialized equipment for research in cell biology, biochemistry and molecular biology, such as:

  • phase contrast and fluorescence microscopes
  • laminar flow hoods
  • liquid nitrogen storage systems
  • electrophoresis units (including several DNA sequencing systems and systems for 2-D protein electrophoresis), and
  • constant temperature incubators

Shared research facilities

The department has two, full-sized autoclaves, a Milli-Q water purification system, two cold rooms, two large darkrooms, a three-room animal facility, and a green-house.

Shared equipment

The small and congenial atmosphere in the department leads to responsible sharing and common use of several types of equipment. They include:

  • several PCR thermal cyclers
  • several electroporators
  • two liquid scintillation counters
  • Sorvall high-speed, refrigerated centrifuges
  • two ultracentrifuges
  • three scanning UV spectrophotometers
  • a Molecular Dynamics Phosphoimager, BioImage Visage 60 system for computerized one and two dimensional gel analysis
  • an Hitachi transmission electron microscope
  • a Hewlett-Packard HP1090 HPLC system
  • a Pharmacia FPLC and several BioRad protein purification systems
  • several Bellco cell-harvester for 96-well plates, -70_ C freezers, and four ELIZA plate readers

Computer facilities

Through the Center for Planning and Information Technology, students, faculty and staff have access to a Digital Equipment Corporation VMScluster computer system consisting of two DEC Alpha systems and two VAX 4000 systems. CUA is connected to the Internet via two T-1 (1.5MBps) data lines from BBN Planet, SER, an Internet provider for research institutions in the mid-atlantic region.

The Chemistry Department, located next door in an adjacent building, has a JEOL FX90Q Fourier Transform multinuclear NMR, a Varian MAT CH-5 double focusing mass spectrometer, and a Perkin-Elmer 1750 Fourier transform IR spectrometer.


The Nursing Biology library is located within 100 ft of the Biology labs and subscribes to all the major biomedical periodicals. In addition, we have access to library facilities at neighboring institutions.

The Brookland Metro station (on the red line) is located across the street from Campus and the University is located within 5 miles of:

  • The National Institutes of Health
  • The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research
  • The Smithsonian Institution
  • The National Library of Medicine
  • The Library of Congress

All faculty offices and labs have current microcomputers and appropriate research software.

We also have a Coulter ZM cell counter and a Beckman model 5500 gamma counter.

Neighboring Universities include:

  • American University
  • Georgetown University
  • George Washington University
  • Howard University
  • The University of Maryland