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Research in Biology

Research in the Department of Biology spans the hierarchy of biological organization, from molecules to organelles and cells; tissues to organs and organ systems; and from organisms to populations and communities. Faculty in the department specialize in a wide range of biological sub-disciplines and use a range of techniques and study systems to address questions about biological function and mechanism. In doing so, their research relates patterns to the causative processes that unfold across molecular- to community-level scales.

Research Areas

Research Assets

The Department of Biology is housed in the Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building. Our researchers have access to state-of-the-art core facilities and shared instrumentation.

Cell Imaging Center

The Drexel Cell Imaging Center (CIC) is a multi-user facility housed in purpose-built imaging suites in the Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building (PISB) and in the Bossone Research Center. The CIC serves the light microscopy needs of Drexel researchers from a variety of academic colleges and departments including the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Engineering, the School of Biomedical Engineering, and the College of Medicine. The CIC also supports the teaching missions of Biology and Biomedical Engineering curricula and provides service to users from local biotech companies.

The CIC includes the following list of instruments:

  • Leica Stellaris laser scanning confocal microscope
  • Zeiss LSM 700 laser scanning confocal microscope
  • Olympus FV1000 laser scanning confocal microscope
  • Olympus IX83 with CSU-10 spinning disk confocal microscope
  • GE Healthcare DeltaVision OMX V4 super-resolution (3D structured illumination and single molecule localization) and total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscope
  • Bruker Ultima IV two-photon laser scanning microscope
  • Olympus IX81 wide-field fluorescence microscope
  • Zeiss AxioObserver 2 wide-field fluorescence microscope
  • BD FACS Canto flow cytometer

Location: PISB 408/308
Contact: Dr. Harini Sreenivasappa,

Liquid Chromatography

An AKTA FPLC™ system is available for the separation and characterization of biomolecules and is especially suited for the purification of proteins. Fast-performance liquid chromatography can be utilized to characterize the hydrodynamic behavior of biomolecules over a large size range and can be implemented in analytical and preparative scales.

The AKTA FPLC™ system is equipped with UV and conductivity detectors and an automated fraction collector. The system is controlled via UNICORN software and a Method Wizard can be used for easy design of purification schemes. A wide variety of chromatography media is available for separation by size exclusion, ion exchange, hyrdrophobicity or affinity chromatography.

Location: PISB 401
Contact: Spiliotis and Gidalevitz labs

Analytical Ultracentrifugation

The tabletop Beckman-Coulter Optima TLX and Beckman-Coulter L-100 XP floor model ultracentrifuges with fixed angle (TLA-100.3, TLA-120.1) and swing bucket (SW 41 Ti, SW 60 Ti) rotors are available for the separation and isolation of biomolecules and organelles by density gradient centrifugation and for sedimentation velocity and equilibrium experiments.

Location: PISB 401
Contact: Spiliotis lab

Scintillation and Luminescence Counting

The Perkin Elmer TopCount NXT microplate scintillation and luminescence counter is available for detecting beta and gamma emitting isotopes such as 3H, 125I, 14C, 35S, 45Ca, 51Cr, 33P and 32P. TopCount differentiates true scintillation events from background and allows the researcher to count events directly in one or multiple standard size microtiter plates ranging in size from 24 to 384 wells. Researchers in the Department of Biology are currently using this equipment to monitor enzymatic activity such as luciferase luminescence, and cellular proliferation and activities such as the clonal expansion of radioactively-labeled lymphocytes in response to antigenic stimulation. In addition, a Packard Tri-Carb 1500 liquid scintillation counter is available for quantifying radioactivity in samples and swipe tests.

Location: PISB 401/410
Contact: Gidalevitz lab

Spectrophotometry and Fluorimetry

A Thermo Scientific Fluoroskan AscentTM microplate is available to measure fluorescence or luminescence in 1-to-384 well plates. The Fluoroskan AscentTM is equipped with a temperature-control incubator with orbital shaking capabilities and three reagent dispensers that enable real-time measurements of fluorimetry and reaction kinetics. A Thermo Labsystems Multiskan Spectrum microplate spectrophotometer and a Thermo Scientific NanoDrop 1000 spectrophotometer are available for the quantification of nucleotide and protein concentrations, and the measurements of absorbance in cell cultures and dye concentration in calorimetric assays.

Location: PISB 401
Contact: Sang and Russell labs

Gel Imaging and Documentation

The ChemiDoc XRS (BIO-RAD) and Odyssey Infrared Imaging System (LI-COR) are available for the digital scanning, documentation and quantification of DNA and protein gels. The ChemiDoc XRS system is equipped with a UV transilluminator, an epi-white illuminator and a supercooled CCD camera for the imaging of chemiluminescent and UV/fluorescent probes. The Odyssey Infrared Imaging System is suitable for two-color protein detection on western blots and in-cell western plate-based assays.

Location: PISB 401
Contact: Spiliotis lab

Dark Room and Film Developing

A dark room with an X-ray film processor is available.

Location: PISB 401
Contact: Sang lab

Prospective Students

Please email or call us at 215.895.1805 with any questions you may have. We look forward to hearing from you!