Facilities and Equipment
We have two campuses invested in training for the biotechnology workforce: Manassas and Loudoun. Our current facilities include a biotechnology center at the Manassas Campus where we house gel electrophoresis supplies, thermocyclers, and a DNA Sequencer in addition to basic laboratory equipment. We recently received a $500,000 earmark grant through the U.S. Dept. of Energy to build and outfit new laboratory space.
As more equipment is purchased and put in place, we can assure that all students will have a first-hand experience with the equipment. To date we have acquired digital analytical scales for use in validation, digital pipettors, electrophoresis units, multi-purpose centrifuges, microscopes, thermocyclers, cell culture facilities, gel documentation and analysis software, and laminar flow hoods. Currently, the Manassas Campus has a computerized DNA sequencer to analyze DNA of microbes, plants, and blood. This provides students with invaluable skills for jobs related to DNA technologies, and provides a brief introduction to Bioinformatics.
Curricula are being developed in current courses such as Microbiology and Botany to use the DNA sequencer. Our new DNA Methods course will include sequencing but also the use of RFLP patterns to discriminate organisms and microsatellites to compare genotypes.
The Loudoun Campus has a new Science building that has been furnished. Manassas is planning a Phase III building with new science labs and classrooms. This building is expected to house some dedicated lab space primarily for (a) nucleic acid and protein methods and (b) cell culture and immunological methods instruction, as well as classroom space for credit and non-credit (continuing education) classes.