The Daphne du Maurier building on the Cornwall Campus
Dr Jon Blount working in the Molecular Biology lab

Facilities in Cornwall

The Centre for Ecology and Conservation in Biosciences is based in the Daphne du Maurier building at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus, Cornwall. Set in 70 acres of stunning countryside, the campus is within easy bus route of the nearby towns of Penryn and Falmouth and 10 miles from Truro.

This purpose-built facility houses state-of-the-art seminar rooms and lecture theatres, plus computer suites equipped with PC workstations for undergraduate student use.

Teaching laboratories

The teaching laboratory boasts panoramic views of the Penryn river, and is fully equipped for all teaching needs, supporting the full range of studies in zoology, ecology and conservation.

Research laboratories

These laboratories are fully equipped with the needs of a modern laboratory and are complemented with state of the art cold rooms and numerous temperature and light controlled incubators, enabling rearing of model and non-model organisms for study. In addition to these laboratories:

  • Controlled environment rooms: 13 large programmable environment rooms (including 8 in the ESI) with variable temperature and light regimes and shelving for insect rearing and plant growth applications
  • Greenhouses: 2 large fully programmable greenhouses with automated blinds and lighting systems and full racking for plant and insect rearing
  • Aviary: this Home Office approved facility is for breeding and observational studies of small birds. The outdoor facilities include versatile accommodation with screeded and drained floors and part-covered roofs. The indoor facility has full temperature and light control, including simulated dusk and dawn cycles to provide state-of-the-art housing for captive birds
  • 100 tank freshwater aquarium

There is also a series of bespoke laboratories including:

Molecular biology laboratories

These house state of the art equipment for research in this field including:

  • Category 2 microbiology/molecular biology laboratory, for culturing bacterial cells to use for gene cloning, modification and protein expression
  • Class 2 tissue culture room
  • Radioactive area licensed for a range of radioactive procedures
  • Dark room/microscope rooms for light sensitive work and fluorescent microscopy
  • Protein purification and proteomics equipment including HPLC and 2D SDS PAGE analysis
  • Quantitative PCR machines
  • DNA preparation robot for preparation of DNA from BAC libraries and DNA capillary sequencer for DNA sequencing and DNA fragment analysis

Metabolomics laboratory

This facility, dedicated to HPLC, Gas Chromatography and mass spectrometry, contains:

  • An Agilent 7890 GC, coupled with an Agilent 5975 mass spectrometer. This uses helium as the carrier gas, and is fitted with a 100 vial autosampler. This is attached to a standalone computer for data analysis, which is loaded with Agilent Chemstation software, including the NIST library for compound identification, and AMDIS (Automatic Mass spectral deconvolution and Identification Software)
  • High-Performance Liquid and Chromatograph to enabling oxidative stress research including a Dionex high-performance liquid chromatograph (HPLC) with diode-array detector and fluorescence detector configured for reverse-phase analysis of antioxidants such as vitamins A, E and carotenoids in natural products such as foods, eggs, blood plasma, and products of oxidative damage such as malondialdehyde
  • UV-visable spectrophotometer for spectrophotometric analysis, e.g. protein carbonyls and antioxidant activity. Related equipment for preparation of samples includes refrigerated centifuges, vacuum centifuge, dry-block heaters, sonicator, homogeniser and micronizer

Environment and Sustainability Institute

£30 million Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) houses a state of the art facilities including:

  • Stable Isotope facility - the Sercon facility has two isotope ratio mass spectrometers with elemental analysers allowing the dedicated technician to measure Carbon Nitrogen, Sulphur, Oxygen, and Hydrogen ratios.

Full information on facilities can be found in the ESI website.