Office of Research – Research Facilities

Basic Science Laboratory

The SoDM Basic Science Laboratory is a 7,500 square foot state-of-the-art research facility that includes separate rooms for sterilization, tissue culture and microscopy. The laboratory is divided into two sections: a dedicated investigator laboratory space and a shared, core laboratory space.

The investigator laboratory space features an open floor plan to encourage multidisciplinary research collaboration (e.g., Biomaterials Cluster investigators). It contains four tissue culture rooms, one of which is designated as biosafety level 2+ (BSL2+) and has biological safety cabinets. The laboratory has two areas with two chemical fume hoods each, and a separate microscopy room.

The sterilization and walk-in cold storage rooms are shared by all investigators. The core laboratory contains shared research equipment for short-term projects or developing preliminary data. Multiple 50” monitors are located throughout the laboratory to encourage researchers to display publications, share results and seek assistance from different investigators and disciplines. All laboratory benches are equipped with evenly spaced air and vacuum lines.

The Basic Science Laboratory contains the following instruments and equipment for shared investigator use:

  • Luminex 200: The system allows investigators to multiplex (simultaneously measure) up to 100 analytes in a single microplate well using a very small sample. The system delivers fast and cost effective bioassay results on many assay formats including nucleic acid assays, receptor-ligand assays, immunoassays and enzymatic assays.
  • Keyence BZ-X800 Microscope: Publication-quality imaging system with built-in darkroom for analyzing slides, dishes, flasks, and microtiter plates. Capabilities include: imaging in fluorescence, brightfield, and phase contrast; automated XYZ stitching of large histology sections; screening and quantification of well plates; and time-lapse incubation for cell culture
  • Shimadzu HPLC-DAD-Fluorescence-Fraction Collector: Used to separate a mixture of compounds in analytical chemistry and biochemistry so as to identify, quantify or purify the individual components of the mixture.
  • Yamato DC401 Freeze Dryer: Freeze dryer with a contaminant free system equipped with a cold trap. A safety Valve is linked with a service receptacle for a vacuum pump.
  • Whitley DG250 Anaerobic Workstation: used when there is a need to easily process, culture and examine anaerobic samples without exposure to atmospheric oxygen.
  • Genemate Incu-Shaker 10L: Shaking incubator; the platform features a non-slip, rubber coated surface, ideal for tissue culture flasks, petri dishes and staining trays. The convenient MAGIC CLAMP™ platform is also available for use with Erlenmeyer flasks and test tube racks.
  • Bio-Rad ChemiDoc Touch: Imager for gels and western blots; Combines sensitivity with a suite of tools to optimize imaging and quantitation.
  • Life Technologies Quant Studio 3: qPCR system; detects differences in target quantity as small as 1.5-fold in singleplex reactions; obtains 10 logs of linear dynamic range.
  • Molecular Devices Spectromax M3: Plate reader with spectradrop (for DNA/RNA concentrations) and a spectrophotometer.
  • Aushon Cirascan: Designed for quantitative chemiluminescent protein arrays.
  • Tissue Culture Rooms: Equipped with Thermo Scientific 1300 Series A2 Biosafety Cabinets, one Galaxy C170R CO2 incubator (Eppendorf), three Symphony CO2 incubators (VWR), Mini Incubator (Boekel), three ultra-low Revco freezers (Thermo), ultra-low Revco chest freezer (Thermo), refrigerator/ freezer combo (Cole Palmer), 9-20 compact freezers (Thermo, Panasonic), ten compact refrigerators (Thermo, Panasonic), one Medical freezer (Accuc Id), two HC34 High Capacity Cryogenic Refrigerator (Taylor-Wharton), EVOS Flc inverted microscope (Life Technologies), Primo Star light microscope (Zeiss), open air rocking shaker (Fisher), Open air platform shaker MaxQ2000 (Thermo), orbital shaker platform (Cienceware), VariMix test tube rocker (Thermo), Sorvall ST-16R centrifuge (Thermo), Prism R Microcentrifuge (Prism), Legend Micro 21R centrifuge (Thermo), Pico Fuge mini centrifuge (Stratagene), Mini plate spinner centrifuge (Labnet), two My fuge (Benchmark Scientific), Centrifuge 5418 (Eppendorf), Centrifuge 5430 (Eppendorf), Precision balance (Mettler-Toledo), two New classic MF balances (Mettler Toledo), XSE105 dual range balance (Mettler Toledo), two IsoTemp water baths (Fisher), Boekel water Bath (VWR), Sonicator Bath (Branson), four IsoTemp dry baths (Fisher), Accumet AE170 pH Meter Bio set, SevenMulti pH meter (Mottler Toledo), Centrivap BT Concentrator (Labconco), four Hotplate stirrers (Fisher, IKA), three vortex mixers (Fisher, Talboys), Nutating Mixer (Fisher), weigh scale (Adam Equipment), two tissue homogenizers (Biospec, Denville), Sonic Dismembrator (Fisher), Cirascan plate reader (Aushon), SpectraMax M3 microplate reader (Molecular Devices), PCR Workstation (UVP), QuantStudio 3 qPCR (Applied Biosystems), HPLC w/ fluorescence, PDA, fraction collector (Shimadzu), Mini Protean TetraCell (Bio Rad), SterilElite 24 Automatic Steam Sterilizer (Fisher), Sterilizer SM300 autoclave (Yamato), four Chemical fume hoods (Mott Manufacturing), and a walk-in cold room (Harris Environmental Systems). Each tissue culture room and the accessioning room have a laminar flow hood (Thermo). The sterilization room contains two Sterivap Sterilizers (BMT Medical Technology) and one glass washer (Miele).

Correlative Light Electron Microscopy (CLEM) Facility

CLEM combines the capabilities of two typically separate microscopy platforms: Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy and Scanning Electron Microscopy. The SoDM CLEM Facility features the following two linked microscopy platforms:

  • Zeiss LSM800 w/Airyscan Confocal Laser Scanning Microscope (CLSM): Provides high image quality and offers enhanced productivity and throughput, as well as greater flexibility in live cell imaging. The Airyscan module delivers 1.7 times higher resolution and higher sensitivity than conventional confocal microscopes.
  • Zeiss SEM EVO10 Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM): Offers the functionality of a conventional SEM while also providing the speed and ease of use commonly associated with tabletop solutions.

The use of fluorescently tagged molecules to localize to and/or perturb subcellular compartments has yielded a wealth of knowledge and has greatly advanced our understanding of cellular regulation. Imaging techniques such as fluorescent and CLSM make ascertaining the position of a fluorescently tagged small molecule relatively straightforward; however, the resolution of very small structures is limited.

SEM is a useful imaging approach for the visualization of cells/microorganisms in their natural environments including their anatomical habitats, because it allows for the exploration of large surfaces with excellent resolution of topographic features. SEM can reveal details of subcellular morphology at very high resolution, but its static nature makes it difficult to measure highly dynamic processes with precision.

Thus, the combination of CLSM with SEM to image the same sample, termed “Correlative Light and Electron Microscopy” (CLEM), affords the dual advantages of ultrafast fluorescent imaging with the high-resolution of electron microscopy. This dual examination provides valuable complementary and unique information. This powerful technique has been implemented to study many aspects of microbiology, cell biology and biomaterials. Since its inception, this procedure has increased our ability to distinguish subcellular architectures and morphologies at high resolution.

The CLEM Facility is the first dual microscopy resource of its kind on the ECU campus. The CLEM is available to university faculty to advance biomedical/biomaterials research. Correlative microscopy is especially useful for microbiology, cell biology, neurobiology, biomaterials, biomaterials, studies of host-parasite interaction, and analysis of symbiotic relations. The instrument is housed in a designated microscopy room (Ross Hall 4200E) at the ECU School of Dental Medicine co-located with support labs for sample preparations (BSL-2 and BSL2+).

Clinical Research Center

The School of Dental Medicine features a 1,600 square foot state-of-the-art clinical research facility called, the “Clinical Research Center,” located on the second floor of Ross Hall. The facility includes a patient reception area and six operatories equipped for dental procedures and oral surgery for clinical research and trials activities involving SoDM investigators and collaborators. There is a dedicated neurosensory testing room in the facility. All operatories are equipped with digital imaging units (Focus).

Each closed operatory is equipped with a nitrous oxide-oxygen connection and Waste Anesthetic Gas Disposal connections. Drug storage is in a separate locked dispensary dedicated to research that meets U.S. FDA and DEA refrigeration and room temperature requirements. The Clinical Research Center is ADA compliant and adjacent to the Special Care, Comprehensive Care and Faculty Practice Clinics. This central location helps facilitate patient recruitment and participation in clinical research.

The Clinical Research Center contains office space for clinical research coordinators and workstations for research staff, students and postdoctoral fellows. The Clinical Research Center includes specimen preparation room with a chemical fume hood and freezers for biospecimen storage. The Clinical Research Center is supported by the School’s central electronic health record (axiUm) linking Ross Hall to the eight Community Service Learning Centers (CSLCs), and the IRB-approved de-identified database, COHORT (Community Oral Health and Risk Tracking) system.

The Clinical Research Center staff (two Clinical/Behavioral Research Specialists) provide support to SoDM clinical investigators and collaborators on IRB applications, patient recruitment, compliance with federal regulations and Good Clinical Practice, and study conduct (data collection).


The School of Dental Medicine in conjunction with the ECU Brody School of Medicine Department of Comparative Medicine (DCM) maintains a fully AAALAC accredited vivarium. The vivarium includes areas for small animal surgery, implantation, necropsy, and for chronic studies.