Research Facilities

Molecular Biology

Molecular biology facilities exist in a number of locations. Each Unit carries out a number of techniques and services. For charging policies please contact the lead in each Unit. In addition to these local facilities recent developments in platform technologies at UCL provide staff in Biosciences with a wide range of molecular biology facilities (see UCL Genomics).

The facilities are (click for further details):

1. Biosciences high-throughput DNA sequencing and genotyping

2. Biosciences Anatomy Building Molecular Biology Unit

3. Biosciences Huxley Building Molecular Biology Facilities

4. Darwin Research Facility (DRF)

5. Molecular Interactions Facility

1. Biosciences high-throughput DNA sequencing and genotyping.


Fraser Simpson

phone 0207 679 2356 (or x32356)

room 436, Darwin building


Darwin building

List of Equipment
ABI 3730xl sequencer

Techniques and Capabilities

96-well-plate-based rapid DNA sequencing and genotyping (up to 5 dyes), plus SNPlex and SNaPshot, both ABI-specific kits for SNP genotyping.


See Centre for Comparative Genomics website.

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2. Biosciences Anatomy Building Molecular Biology Unit

Based on the 2nd floor of the Anatomy Building was established to provide equipment and services to groups in the Anatomy Department. This has now been open to groups across the Division of Biosciences. We provide a range of access options - from using the equipment yourself to facility staff undertaking experiments on your behalf.

We also have the Promega Express Enzyme Freezer and Invitrogen Supply Centre supplying enzymes and cell culture media.


Mary Rahman, Manager

Pala Sanapu Reddy, Technician

Tel. 020 7679 3368 Internal: x33368

Room 205A, Anatomy Building.

List of Equipment

The Experion System

The NanoDrop ND1000 Spectrophotometer

The NanoDrop 2000 Spectrophotometer

CFX 96 Real Time System

Chromo4 Real Time PCR DNA Engine


Eppendorf PCR Mastercycler Gradient

MPBio FastPrep12 Cell Disrupter

Polytron Homogeniser

Branson 450 Sonicator with various tips

Turner BioSystems 20/20 Luminometer

Camspec M501 UV/Vis Spectrophotometer

Bio-tek Absorbance Platereader with Gen5 Data collection and Analysis software.

Bio-Rad PharosFX Plus Molecular Imager System

Bio-Rad ChemiDoc XRS system

Gel Documentation system

X-O-Graph X-Ray Film Processor

New Brunswick orbital shaker

Beckman J2-MC High speed Centrifuge, rotors JA10.5, JA20, JA20.1, JA13.1

Beckman Optima-L Ultra Centrifuge, rotors 70.1Ti, SW41

Beckman TLX-100 Bench Top Ultra centrifuge, rotors TLA 45, TLA 55, TLA100.4

Eppendorf 5804R Centrifuge, rotors F34-6-38 fixed angle 6x50ml, F45.30.11 fixed angle 30x 1.5/2ml, A-4-44 swing out 4x50ml+16x15/17ml, A-Z-DWP swing out plate.

Techniques and Capabilities



RNA Integrity

Chemical and Electro Competent cells


DNA Isolation mini/midi/maxi

RNA Isolation


Sequencing Reactions


Promega Express Supply Freezer—restriction/modifying enzymes

Invitrogen Supply Centre—Cell Culture/ Molecular Biology enzymes


Please contact Mary Rahman


Training and technical assistance will be provided.

Promega freezer real time Inventory list

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3. Biosciences Huxley Building Molecular Biology Facilities.

This core equipment facility was established in 2002 using funds awarded to a group of leading academics by the Joint Infrastructure Fund (JIF). In 2004 access to the facility was extended to incorporate the rest of UCL and we have established a strong and continuously expanding client base through word of mouth recommendation from current and former users.

The facility offers a variety of molecular biological and proteomics equipment in addition to a number of services (e.g. DNA sequencing and genotyping), which are tailored to satisfy the clients requirement. The facility is run on a full cost recovery basis.


Contact Stuart Martin

Role Core Equipment Facility Manager

Phone 020 7679 0040 Internal: x30040



Sequencing & Genotyping Facility (Andrew Huxley Building)

Room 206, 2nd Floor Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
Research Department of Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology
Division of Biosciences
University College London
Gower Street

List of Equipment

· AB Applied Biosystems 3100-Avant Genetic Analyzer (4 Capillary)

· Amersham Typhoon 3140 Variable Mode imager (phosphorescence, fluorescence, & chemiluminescence)

· BioRad iCycler Real Time PCR Instrument

· Berthold Mithras LB 940 Multilabel Plate Reader

· BiTeK Visible 96 Well Plate Reader

· Packard Micromate 496 plate sealer

· MJ DYAD Thermal Cycler with Interchangeable blocks (0.2 ml, 0.5 ml + 0.2 ml gradient).

· Beckman DU 800 scanning UV/Visible Spectrophotometer

· BIAcore 2000 SPR (Surface Plasmon Resonance) Instrument

Techniques and Capabilities

  • Ready-to-run sequencing service.
  • Full genotyping service

      • Gel based PCR assays (RFLP analyisis)
      • Fragment analysis using the 3100-Avant genetic analyzer
      • Microsatellite marker analysis and SNP detection on the 3100-Avant genetic (SNaPshot).
      • Het detection using quantitative real-time PCR (TaqMan probes)
  • Detection and quantitative analysis of proteins on western blots using fluorescence, chemiluminescence and phossporescence detection methods.

  • Gene expression studies (SYBR Green 1 or TaqMan / Beacon probes)

  • BRET, FRET, immunoassays & other applications requiring detection by absorbance, fluorescence & luminescence in real-time (kinetics)

  • DNA, RNA & protein quantification

  • PCR reactions and optimization

      • qPCR primer design (Beacon software)
      • HotStart PCR
      • Touchdown PCR
      • Gradient optimization PCR

  • ELISA assays


Sequencing (Price per sample)

  • £3.00 - Standard Charge
  • £1.25 - Concessionary rate (former JIF members + new grant holders)


  • Single / double PCR

£4.00 Concessionary rate for new grant holders

£5.00 1-40 samples PCM

£4.00 40+ PCM

  • Triple PCR

£5.50 Concessionary rate for new grant holders

£7.00 1-40 samples PCM

£6.25 40+ PCM

  • Fragment analysis using GeneMapper

£5.25 Concessionary rate for new grant holders

£8.00 1-40 samples PCM

£7.00 40+ PCM

  • Microsatelite & SNP analysis using GeneMapper

Price on application subject kit requirements

  • RFLP analysis

Price on application subject to reagent requirements

Typhoon (Per KB file size)

  • £0.50 Blue Laser (ECL Plus)
  • £0.10 Red / Green Laser (storage phosphor & Cy3 / Cy5)


  • £10 Rate per run

Specrophotometer/Multilabel Plate Reader

  • Proportion of the running cost based on the level of use (consumables + maintenance contract)

Visible plate reader / DYAD PCR instrument / plate sealer

  • No charge


Full training and technical assistance will be provided for all facility users


Customer Support Website

  • http: //

Equipment Information
See Beckman Coulter site here
4.Darwin Research Facility (DRF)

The Darwin Research Facility was established in 2004 by funding from the Wellcome Trust, HEFCE and UCL which transformed the derelict sub-basement of the Darwin building into a suite of state-of-the-art research laboratories.

At present, the infrastructure of the facility provides a diverse range of equipment, expertise and training in the field of biochemistry, molecular, structural and cellular biology. The facility consists of several research laboratories and support areas. These are detailed below.


Contact: Vernon Skinner

Role: DRF Manager

Phone: 020 7679 2728 Internal: x32728



Darwin Research Facility (Darwin Building)

Basement Floor
Research Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment
Division of Biosciences
University College London
Gower Street

List of Equipment

a) Centrifugation area (SB01). A range of low, medium and high speed centrifuges are available for a diverse range of applications, including:

Beckman Optima MAX 130000 benchtop ultracentrifuge

Sorvall Evolution RC medium speed centrifuge

Beckman Avanti medium speed centrifuge

Beckman Optima-L-100XP ultracentrifuge

b) Bioanalytical and Biophysical instrumentation laboratories (SB02 and SB05). A wide range of high-tech equipment is available for biochemical and biophysical analysis, including:

Packard Tri-Carb 2900TR β-counter

Fujifilm LAS-1000 scanner

Fujifilm FLA-2000 scanner

LiCor Odyssey infra-red gel scanner

BMG Labtech Fluostar Optima and Pherastar plate readers, with absorbance, chemiluminescence and fluorescence/time-resolved fluorescence modes.

Varian Cary 100 Bio UV/visible spectrophotometer

Gene Genius Bio Imaging System

Varian Prostar HPLC

c) Microbiology area (SB06) is equipped with preparative instruments and medium and large scale shaking incubators, such as:

Thermo Electron French Cell Press

HT infors Multitron shaking incubators with heating & cooling

Uniscience UNIVAP centrifugal evaporator

Xograph Compact X4 film developer

Edwards Modulyo Freeze Drier.

d) Molecular Interactions Laboratory (SB16)

Two Beckman XL-1 Analytical Ultracentrifuges

One Beckman XL-I equipped with fluorescent detection

Farfield Dual polarisation interferometer

Biacore X100 surface plasmon resonance

Three AKTA protein purifiers

e) Protein-purification lab (SB 03, 4oC):

2x GE Pharmacia ÄKTA Purifiers and related equipment.

f) The microscope suite:

Details to be added shortly.

g) Support areas: Freezer room (SB14) – contains a range of freezers (from -30oC to -80oC); Dark room (SB12) – Xograph Compact X4 film developer and 2x UVP transilluminators.

Main Users

Researchers from SMB and GEE departments.

£4,970 per postdoc/per year/per grant application.

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Page last modified on 18 dec 14 17:52