The dedicated plant growth facility within the Botanic Garden, provides state-of-the-art controlled environment capabilities, and containment facilities for plant pathogen work. There are also both glasshouse and outdoor plots for horticultural and ecological studies.
Plant Sciences is fully equipped for molecular, genetic and biochemical studies, including cell culture, protein overexpression and purification, as well as radioisotope work and we have full access to advanced DNA sequencing technology. There are extensive imaging facilities, including Differential Interference Contrast, fluorescence and confocal microscopes, low light imaging systems suitable for photon counting studies and we have an in situ hybridisation suite. Electrophysiological studies use patch clamp rigs equipped for micromanipulation, ion selective and electrical measurements, microsampling and UV laser ablation work.
Hgh-speed computing facilities support mathematical modelling of plant-pathogen interactions, the epidemiology of disease and 3D imaging of plant development. The Department also houses a 96 core Linux cluster with 40TB of storage running “A Database-Driven, Automated, Pipeline and Tracking System” (ADDAPTS) for analysis of high-throughput DNA sequence data.
Our instrumentation for the analysis of elemental composition, photohormones and metabolites in plants, includes several HPLCs, liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC/MS) and gas chromatographs (GC) and GC/MS. Fluorescence sensors and infrared gas analysers are available for analysis of photosynthesis and gas exchange.
The Departmental Library, contains a large collection of current periodicals and over 20,000 books, as well as support for online access to electronic resources. There are both areas for quiet work, and more informal seating enabling small group discussions. In addition the Herbarium Library houses an extensive collection of floras and monographs.
A unique facility in the Department is the Herbarium, which holds over 1 million plant specimens, including over 50,000 type specimens (the original plant material on which species descriptions are based), the botanical samples collected by Charles Darwin in the Galapagos Islands during the voyage of HMS Beagle, and the Lindley collection of specimens collected by the early 19th Century plant hunters. The Herbarium plays an active role in our systematic knowledge of plants and has recently moved to a new purpose-built facility in the Sainsbury Laboratory.