The Department of Biology is housed in the Mendel Science Center, named for Gregor Mendel, the discoverer of the laws of heredity. Well-equipped teaching laboratories are used by courses that emphasize experiential learning. Faculty members have research labs (averaging 600 square feet) outfitted with discipline-specific equipment to accommodate student and faculty research activities.
Common use facilities include a greenhouse, USDA-compliant vivarium, a computerized visualization laboratory, several computer labs with up-to-date software including statistical analysis packages, walk-in cold rooms, dark rooms, autoclaves, and a Biosafety Level 2 laboratory for handling mammalian cell cultures and viruses. University vans are available for transport of students and equipment to and from field sites.
The Department features a full range of microscopy support, including a scanning and transmission electron microscope facility, cryostats for producing frozen sections, and research-grade fluorescent and phase contrast inverted microscopes. Additional major equipment includes automated DNA sequencers, GPS units, GIS (geographic information system) with large-format plotter, elemental analyzer, X-ray unit, gel documentation systems, environmental chambers, fresh and saltwater aquarium and aquatic culture systems, laminar flow hoods, ultracentrifuges, superspeed centrifuges, spectrophotometers, air and water-jacketed incubators, liquid nitrogen storage and ultralow freezers. Numerous thermal cyclers for PCR analysis, clinical centrifuges, microcentrifuges, and electrophoresis systems are available. Oxygen analyzers, tensometers, and an ergometer are available for physiological and biomechanical studies.
Computer Laboratories & Resources
Listed here are facilities and resources specifically maintained for use by students, faculty, and staff in the Department of Biology. UNIT is responsible for computer facilities and support throughout the rest of the University.
Mendel 141: The Marks Visualization Lab
This lab is available also for general use by Biology students. The lab houses 26 Dell computers. Three of the computers also have attached scanners.
All Biology students should have access to M141 by Wildcard. Log on to the computer using your general student ID and email password. Having done so, you should have access to files stored on a network server that you can access from any other campus Windows computer as well. Remember to log off when you complete your work, to protect the security of those files.
This room may be reserved from time to time (which will be posted on the door to the lab) for use in specific courses.
Mendel 086: Ecology Computer Lab
This lab, used in several courses (e.g., Bio 3012, Bio 3255, Bio 4452), is available also for general use by Biology students. The lab houses nine iMac computers.
All Biology students should have access to M086 by Wildcard. Access to the iMacs requires a user ID and password. Contact Dr. Curry for details.
Software for Biology students
Villanova has made a commitment to supporting the development of literacy, in the broadest sense, among its students. Making EndNote — a program for organizing and using sources when writing papers and reports — available to students is one example of this commitment.
EndNote is installed on all computers in the labs listed above. To use EndNote effectively there, students will need to maintain a portable version of their EndNote library database (set of files in which you store references you're likely to want to cite) on a USB drive or comparable storage device, so you can move it from computer to computer.
In addition, students may download the program for installation on their own computers through a Falvey Library web page. Mac users can go to the Falvey front desk to borrow a CD for installing the same software.
Word is the word-processing program of choice on Villanova's campus. Students may expect to be required to submit assignments as Word files, often as attachments to an email message. Depending on the course, students may also be expected to use Excel and PowerPoint. Office is installed on all computers in the labs listed above, and in all other labs on campus.
JMP is a statistics program that students use it in several courses (e.g., Bio 3012, Bio 3105, Bio 3255). The program is available on all computers in the labs listed above. Biuology students may download copies for installation on individual university-loaned laptop computers.
These resources, together with many other resources of campus (e.g., Falvey Library, Multimedia Center), support a wide diversity of research and teaching experiences.