Brehm Biodiversity Center
The Biology Building
The Biology Department is housed in the L.E. Griffin Memorial Biology Building, which includes the Lewis H. Kleinholz Memorial Laboratories. The Biology Building is located towards the eastern end of the central campus (campus map).
In 2001, Reed completed a $9.7 million addition to, and renovation of, the biology building; the building now covers 44,800 square feet, a 25% increase. The project has created efficient and modern teaching and research spaces for the biology faculty, staff, and students, and has had broad benefits for the Reed community.
Teaching & Research Facilities
Reed's Biology program has been built upon a conviction that boundaries between teaching and research should be minimal. Our success in training first-rate biologists comes in part from making available our excellent facilities and equipment to faculty and students alike. The design of our research facilities and the acquisition of equipment has been primarily guided by the expertise of our biology faculty. Students conducting research for coursework, independent projects, summer research internships, and the senior thesis are provided with the knowledge and skills to allow full access to all of our research tools.
The building renovation completed in 2001 has been accompanied by more than a decade of successful awards that have provided our department with modern biological equipment for teaching and research. Major financial support for new equipment has come from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Kresge Science Initiative, the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, the National Science Founation, as well as generous gifts from individual donors.
Both the introductory and upper-division courses in biology include weekly laboratory sessions where research tools and techniques are introduced and used to collect biological data. Our building renovation in 2001 allowed the biology faculty to develop dedicated teaching laboratory spaces designed specifically to support the activities in the Introductory course and in each of our upper-division laboratory courses. The arrangement of student benches, instructional technology, dedicated equipment, and the support spaces are all tailored to the teaching and research needs for each laboratory course.
All faculty have dedicated research spaces next to their offices, with the layout and research capabilities designed to fit their particular research needs. In addition to supporting faculty research, these laboratories are used by thesis students, summer interns, and even students completing research projects for upper-division courses.
Facilities in the biology building provide for the housing and care of both aquatic and terrestrial invertebrate and vertebrate animals in support of our teaching and research. Our greenhouse is used to grow plants for research, with more than 500 square feet of bench space divided among four rooms that allow independent temperature and lighting schedules. Several free-standing growth chambers and walk-in constant temperature rooms are also available throughout the building.
Support for field-based research is provided by the Brehm Biodiversity Center, which houses the Biology Department's herbarium, a library of government documents and maps related to Pacific Northwest natural history, and computer workstations for ecological modeling, data analysis, and Geographical Information Systems (GIS). The Department also has a range of equipment that allows for field-based collection of organisms and for gathering data quantifying biotic and abiotic features of the environment.
The Biology Stockroom provides essential support for both teaching and research activities in the department. With a full-time staff of two and the assistance of student workers, the stockroom prepares equipment and materials for all teaching labs, assists students and faculty in their research, and manages the shared research equipment and facilities for the department.
Numerous laminar flow hoods, controlled atmosphere incubators and inverted phase contrast microscopes for sterile, in vitro propagation of plant and animal cells are available for student-initiated projects. Many thesis and independent research projects use material generated from tissue culture. A dedicated sterile facility supports the Cellular Biology course where students learn basic animal tissue culture techniques within the context of a research project on cell signaling.
Common equipment rooms throughout our building house shared facilities and major equipment that support multiple uses and a diversity of biological research investigations, These facilities and equipment include walk-in constant temperature rooms, autoclaves, standard and -80°C freezers, large-capacity centrifuges, top-loading and analytical balances, and a deionized water supply that services all teaching and research laboratories.
The Biology Department has integrated computers and other digital technologies into nearly all of our teaching and research activities. Equipment and research facilities in the Department are supported by computers that allow the direct acquisition of biological data in digital format. The Introductory Biology teaching laboratories have MacBooks available at each student workstation. More than 50 laptops are available on mobile carts and deployed when needed in support of teaching activities in upper-division course laboratories. Wireless network access is provided throughout the Biology Building, and our lecture/conference classrooms and teaching laboratories are all provided with digital data projectors.
Facilities are state-of-the-art. An Olympus confocal laser scanning microscope allows collection of three-dimensional and timelapse images with superb resolution. Digital files can be manipulated on a dedicated G5 computer. There are numerous research-grade compound microscopes with epifluorescence and Nomarski differential interference contrast optics, and an excellent epifluorescence stereo microscope. The research-grade scopes are equipped with digital or analog video cameras of high resolution. Video printers provide snapshots for the lab notebook. We have recently upgraded the teaching laboratories with new-generation compound and stereo microscopes.
The Department has modern equipment and facilities for molecular analysis of genes and gene expression. More than a dozen thermal-cyclers for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) are dispersed throughout the department, including several with gradient capability. We have electrophoresis equipment for DNA, RNA, and proteins, and gel-imagers (Kodak EDAS and BioRad Fluor-S imagers) that allow for visualization and digital documentation of gel images developed with a variety of stains. Students can also use an MJ Research Opticon dual-channel thermal cycler capable of simultaneous 2 color fluorescence detection in real time for quantitative measurements of gene expression and genomic DNA. Dr. Suzy Renn joined our department in Fall, 2006, and has introduced laboratory and computational facilities for genome-level analysis of gene expression.
The college operates a nuclear reactor that is the only facility of its kind in the US operated primarily by undergraduates (reactor operators are licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission). The reactor facility can be used to quantify trace-elements in samples by Neutron Activation Analysis, and has been used by biology students during their class independent projects and thesis research.
The Reed College campus has many elements that are of significant interest to biologists:
- The "Trees of Reed College" is a web site that provides access to a database maintained by the Physical Plant which describes all of the tree species planted as part of the main campus landscape. The site includes both maps for learning the identity of a tree whose location is known, a searchable index to find a particular species of tree on campus, as well as information about trees that have been planted as memorials.
- The Reed College Canyon is part of the Johnson Creek Watershed and an important biological resource for both the campus and the Portland Community. The Canyon pages include information about the history, physical setting, flora, and fauna of this beautiful area on campus.