The School of Biological Sciences provides access to a wide array of facilities/resources that enhance research and educational opportunities. Some of these are briefly described below with contact information and web links for additional information.

Research Facilities

DNA Sequencing Facility

An Illumina Genome Analyzer II (GAII) instrument is available for school and collaborative use. The GAII sequencer employs sequence-by-synthesis (SBS), high-throughput DNA sequencing to produce up to 20 billion bases of sequence data per run. The school’s GAII is fully equipped for paired-end sequencing to detect structural variation in genomes or transcripts, as well as to facilitate de novo genome assembly. Associated equipment for constructing sequencing libraries from both genomic DNA and RNA samples is available, and two servers and a high-end desktop are available for processing, storing and analyzing data from sequencing runs. Software for genomic resequencing studies, alignment and quantification of transcribed sequences (so-called “RNA-seq”), and de novo read assembly is supported for end users.

Contact: Dr. Colin Thacker

Advanced Microscopy Facility and Electron Microscopy Core Laboratory

The Advanced Microscopy Facility and Electron Microscopy Core Laboratory provide access to instruments, provides access to instruments for electron microscopy, light and fluorescence microscopy, and confocal microscopy, and is available to users from throughout the University. Preparatory equipment includes microtomes, an automatic tissue processor, a plunge freezing device, and a high pressure freezer. Training and help with problem solving is provided.

Contact: David M. Belnap
Phone 801.585.1242

Stable Isotope Ratio Facility for Environmental Research (SIRFER)

SIRFER is a university recharge facility focusing on high precision measurements of stable isotopes (H. C, N, O, and S) at natural abundance levels that is open for use by all researchers on campus. Stable isotopes are used as natural tracers and integrators of environmental processes, with applications in biochemistry, physiology, and ecology. Students are able to participate in both lecture and laboratory stable isotope ecology classes at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
For more information please visit the SIRFER website.


The School of Biological Sciences greenhouses are located on the roof of the South Biology Building.  Approximately 6400 square feet of space are available for plant cultivation, with environments ranging from desert to tropical conditions.  Full service including watering, fertilizing, pest control, and repotting is available for a fee.  In addition to plants used in research projects, the Biology Greenhouses also contain a collection of conservatory plants used for teaching and display.

Contact Christopher Morrow, 801-585-6838.

Field Sites

Rio Mesa Center

The Rio Mesa Center is located on the Dolores River in southeastern Utah, about an hour north of Moab. The emerging foci of the center are broad, spanning from humanities and architecture to natural science interests. For biologists, this center provides an opportunity for long-term research on both riparian and desert ecosystem and a location for place-base field teaching opportunities. For more information visit the Rio Mesa Center website.

Contact: Dr. Zach Lundeen, Station Manager

Red Butte Canyon

Red Butte Canyon Research Natural Area is located up the canyon, east of the University of Utah campus.  This RNA offers a protected watershed for ecological research and study. For more information visit the Red Butte Canyon Research Natural Area website.

Contact: Dr. David Bowling

Red Butte Garden located at the mouth of Red Butte Canyon on the edge of the University of Utah campus offers over 100 acres of natural and botanical gardens as well as hiking trails. For more information visit the Red Butte Garden website.

School of Biological Sciences Special Courses

Stable Isotope Ecology Summer Course (Biology 7473/7475)

This intensive lecture and laboratory course treats the theory and practice of analyzing stable isotopes at natural abundance levels to address questions of ecological and environmental interest. The course is taught during the last two weeks of June by fourteen leading experts. Like the instructors, the students come from all over the world. Enrollment is limited, and applications are accepted through mid-February.

Contact Dr. Jim Ehleringer for additional information.

Other Facilities

BioKids Child Care and Preschool

BioKids is a small, unique childcare and preschool program founded by School of Biological Sciences faculty in 1999. We provide a nurturing environment where children are encouraged to develop into caring, self-sufficient individuals.  BioKids was awarded NAEYC Accreditation in 2006 (National Association for the Education of Young Children ).  BioKids has two classrooms, one for children under the age of two and another for children ages 2-5.  Because children generally remain at BioKids from infancy until they go to kindergarten, we have little student turnover and there is a waiting list for each of our classrooms. Biology faculty and staff have priority enrollment status and are placed at the top of the waiting list.  For more information, please visit the BioKids website.