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Biology Department Facilities


Cadaver Lab

Perform complete dissections of the human body in the Galinsky Human Anatomy Laboratory, one of the region's only educational cadaver labs. This hands-on experience with real cadavers gives you an appreciation for and understanding of anatomy that goes beyond pictures, models, and textbooks.

Beginning with our basic human anatomy course which is typically taken by students from a variety of majors including biology, health, physical education and recreation, and secondary education, the dissected cadaver helps you learn the structures presented during the lecture and laboratory components of the course. Subsequent to the basic anatomy class, you may enroll in the advanced anatomy laboratory course where you will perform dissections.

Roy G. Carver Molecular Biology Lab

This state-of-the-art laboratory was made possible thorugh a Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust grant. It features some of the most modern science equipment available at any undergraduate program in the nation:

  • A High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) System is used to separate chemical compounds and identify things like antioxidant levels in certain foods.
  • The gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GCMS) system has been used to identify materials previously thought to have disintegrated beyond identification — everything from the scent of Lifesaver candies to cocaine on U.S. paper currency.
  • An M2 SpectraMax Fluorometer measures light absorbance in cells;
  • An Eco Real-Time Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction System measures gene expressions in the heart and brain;
  • A thermacycler is basically a fancy oven that can amplify one copy of DNA to one million copies;
  • The Agilent 2100 Bioanalyzer uses lab-on-a-chip technology for DNA, RNA and protein analysis.

Anatomy & Physiology Lab

Here, you'll learn about human anatomy through articulated and disarticulated skeletons and a variety of other models, including a three-quarter-to-scale human model, a human torso with organs and musculature, and various muscle and joint models. As a physiology student, you'll also have access to an EKG machine and computer software to and analyze cardiopulmonary function, along with many other body system functions. 

Cellular, Molecular & Immunology Lab

This lab, in conjunction with the Carver Lab, will allow you to learn and perform a variety of techniques involving cells at the molecular level. Fractionate cells in order to study organelle structure and function, or even grow cells in cell culture. You'll also learn blotting techniques like Western Blotting and PCR. This is a great lab to develop and design research projects.

General Biology Lab

Use microscopes of several varieties (binocular, dissecting, etc.) or experiment with a biological growth chamber in this general biology lab, which accommodates students in the general biology sequence as well as botany and invertebrate zoology students. You'll also have access to insect, plant and shell collections.

Microbiology Lab

This lab was recently revamped as part of the Heelan Hall renovation project. It is now a state-of-the-art facility featuring improved safety and extra work space. You'll have access to a high quality binocular microscrope for studying bacteria, and an attached prep room with a variety of materials to grow and analyze living microorganisms. 

Research Lab

This newly designed lab provides space for independent research, small labs or just a place to study before a big exam. Faculty can also use this for small labs classes or for setting up a research project with a student or two.


Briar Cliff’s Herbarium (Heelan 146) contains over 1,500 plant specimens from at least 40 states. The oldest were collected during the 1930s. This collection largely documents species collected during botanical surveys of local areas such as the Sioux City Prairie, Stone State Park, Broken Kettle Grasslands and the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve.  Others were collected during biology department summer trips, most notably those to the northern Great Plains and the Pacific Northwest to find species collected during the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The herbarium also contains specimens collected by Briar Cliff students, and others which have been acquired through exchange with Lynchburg College in Virginia.