The main office, core facilities, and most research laboratories of the Department of Biochemistry are located in Engel Hall and the adjacent Fralin Biotechnology Center.

The research laboratories of the Department of Biochemistry are equipped for modern biochemical and molecular biological research. Special instruments and facilities are available through individual faculty including: NMR, EPR, GC-Mass spectrometry, LC-MS-MS, Circular Dichroic Spectroscopy, liquid scintillation spectrometry, ultra- and high-speed centrifuges, FPLCs, HPLCs, cell culture facilities, an insectary, a BSL-3 containment laboratory, facilities for fluorescence microscopy with digital video imaging processing, an ABI-PRISM Real-Time PCR Analysis System, two-dimensional scanners for fluorescence and radioactivity, DNA sequencing instruments, chambers for anaerobic manipulation, fermentation and cell harvesting equipment, and walk-in cold rooms.

Research and instructional missions in the department are supported by a Biochemistry Library Digital Research Center in Engel Hall that houses current research journals and personal computers for molecular graphics, modeling, and literature searches; a shop for custom fabrication in wood, metal and plastics; and a facility and expertise for repair of refrigerated and electronic equipment. The Biochemistry Department supports Information Systems for Biotechnology at the Corporate Research Center and the Food Analysis Control Center in Engel Hall.

The mission of the FALCC is to perform accurate and precise chemical analysis of nutrients and phytochemicals in foods and clinical research diets, in support of epidemiological studies, clinical feeding trials, and public health. A key part of this work involves developing and validating analytical methods and and food based control materials for research applications, such as quantitation of bioactive food components or nutrients for which food composition data are lacking or inaccurate.

Read more about the Food Analysis Laboratory Control Center.

The Proteomics and Mass Spectrometry Incubator, located in Life Science One, houses five separate mass spectrometers. Metabolomics work is generally directed towards the two Applied Biosystems LC-MS/MS systems, the API3200 and the 3200QTRAP (instrumentation donated by PPD). The proteomics infrastructure includes a 4000 QTRAP and a 4800 MALDI TOF/TOF. The MALDI samples can be fractionation off-line with LC-plate spotting instrumentation. We recently installed a UPLC-SynaptG2-S HDMS system for high mass resolution work in both proteomics and metabolomics. Downstream data processing software includes MASCOT, Protein Pilot, Scaffold, metaXCMS, MarkerLynx and PLGS. This facility fosters research training and program development in a collaborative environment. For more details, please contact Dr. Helm (

The Confocal Microscope Facility, located in the Fralin Biotechnology Center, has a state-of-the-art Zeiss LSM510 confocal microscope. The facility is available for use by Virginia Tech faculty, students, and staff on a fee basis. For additional information on this facility, contact the facility manager at or (540) 231-7959.

The Keck Transgenic Plant Greenhouse is a 3500 sq. ft. greenhouse dedicated to the growth of transgenic plants. As such, it supports research by faculty in several departments that need state-of-the-art greenhouse space.

The Fralin fermentation facility contains equipment to grow large quantities of plants, microbes or animal cells under controlled conditions. The facility includes centrifuges and spectrophotometer donated by the Beckman Corporation. For additional information and use of this facility, contact the faculty supervisor and center director at or (540) 231-5895.

Department of Chemistry Research Facilities include a stockroom that provides routine reagents and supplies at reasonable cost, an NMR laboratory with a Bruker MSL 200/300 for multinuclear studies of solids at nominal field strengths of 200/300 MHz (protons) and Varian Inova 400 and JEOL Eclipse 500 spectrometers for high resolution proton, carbon, and multinuclear NMR solution studies. Both instruments are equipped with field gradient probes for efficient 2D-NMR spectroscopy. The NSF Polymer Science and Technology Center maintains a Varian Unity 400 MHz spectrometer for high-resolution solution NMR studies.

The Department of Chemistry, in collaboration with the Department of Geological Sciences, also maintains single-crystal X-ray diffractometers interfaced with a number of personal computers and PC-based structure determination software in a centralized Crystallography Laboratory which is available for use by members of the VT community on a fee basis. The Department of Geological Sciences houses a Vibrational Spectroscopy Lab with an ISA Jobin-Yvon 1 meter U-1000 Raman microprobe with a PMT detector, a Dilor XY 0.64 meter Raman microprobe and accessory spectrometer with CCD multichannel detector, and a Nicolet 740 FTIR microprobe with Spectra-Tech microscope. A Joule-Thompson cooling stage that operates to -180 Celsius, a pressurized gas cell, and a heating stage are available for use on any of the microprobes. For additional information on the Vibrational Spectroscopy Lab, contact the faculty supervisor at (540) 231-7455.

A Flow Cytometry Core Facility is available for use on a fee basis by all VT faculty, staff, and students at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. Two instruments, a Coulter Altra Cell Sorter with UV Laser capabilities, and a Coulter EPICS-XL are housed in the facility. Training on the EPICS-XL can be provided for individuals who prefer to run their own samples. For additional information, contact the facility supervisor at or (540) 231-4115.