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Department of Plant Sciences

Our research and teaching facilities are excellent following recent rounds of laboratory refurbishment and extensive investment in new equipment. The new Teaching Laboratory has been built on the ground floor and access for disabled students has been made easier for the laboratory and the lecture theatres.


Laboratories and equipment

The Department's Downing Site is fully equipped for molecular, genetic and biochemical studies, including cell culture, protein overexpression and purification, as well as radioisotope work and it has 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 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. 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.


High-speed computing facilities

High-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.


Teaching laboratory

This dedicated and teaching laboratory located on the ground floor provides spaces for up to 80 students. Students living with disabilities are also provided for. Practical classes from IA Physiology of Organisms and IB Plant and Microbial Sciences are held here. Space is also available for Part II students as well as Summer school students and Science festival groups. Equipment in the teahcing laboratory includes core laboratory facilities with six dedicated screens and audio pick up.


Lecture theatres 

There are two lecture theatres located in the Downing Site building, the Large Lecture Theatre and the Tom Ap Rees Lecture Theatre. The Large Lecture Theatre, located on the ground floor, seats 110, is wheelchair accessible and is equipped with desktop PC, three projectors, VGA and HDMI connection for laptop presentation, integrated sound system, webcam, two microphones (one handheld and one wearable) and two visualisers. The Large Lecture Theatre is available for University-wide use during opening hours and can be booked via Booker or by contacting The Tom Ap Rees Lecture Theatre, also known as the Small Lecture Theatre, is located on the ground floor within the Library and is wheelchair accessible. It seats 25 in either a classroom or meeting room format and is set up for remote lecture capture, with desktop PC linked to a projector, camera, sound system and ceiling microphones.


Seminar room

Located on the third floor of the Downing Site building, the seminar room seats 20-25 and can be laid out in either a classroom or meeting room format. It has air conditioning and is equipped with a data video projector.


Supervision rooms

Supervision room 1 is located on the third floor of the Downing Site building and eqipped with air conditioning, a table and five chairs. Supervision room 2, also known as the Library cubby, is located on the ground floor of the Downing Site building - there are four seats around a table behind the Librarian which have been designated available for booking for supervisions. Contact Reception at Department of Plant Sciences' Downing Site to book these rooms.The Epidemiology and Modelling Research Group also has a small meeting room that can be used by members of the Department - contact the group directly to enquire about using this room.


Write-up room

This facility provides dedicated write-up space for post-graduate students and contract research staff. It augments the space available in the Library which also has write-up bays equipped with networked PCs. Equipment in the write-up room includes one colour laser printer, private laptops and group computers.