Research Labs

In addition to state-of-the art teaching labs and computing labs, Bren Hall is home to several specialized spaces and an impressive inventory of equipment and instruments to support
high-level research. This section provides an overview of those resources.

Imaging & Analysis
Facility (MEIAF)

The state-of-the-art Micro-Environmental Imaging and Analysis Facility (MEIAF) is one of the few facilities in the United States that features an environmental scanning electron microscope (ESEM) capable of X-ray microanalysis, coupled with a cold stage to enable high-resolution imaging of hydrated specimens and observation of such dynamic processes as crystal formation and dehydration, freeze-fracturing, and ultra-low-temperature imaging. Applications range from microelectronics to forensic science. This facility, unlike most regular ESEM labs, is open for public as well as academic use.

Acessible Research Labs
Bren master's students have ready access to a full range of research equipment to conduct scientific research. Whether the work is related to Group Projects or other Bren pursuits, students can secure field-sampling and other laboratory equipment to support primary data collection, all the general supplies needed for experimental work, plus equipment for conducting DNA-based analysis of field samples. An ultra-low-temperature freezer is available for long-term storage of sensitive samples.

School Infrastructure Lab

Further supporting laboratory work performed at the Bren School is the School Infrastructure Lab (SIL), which houses additional shared equipment, including a high-speed refrigerated Sorvall centrifuge, an ultra-low-temperature (-80° C) chest freezer, a spark-proof refrigerator/freezer for cold storage of flammables, two static incubators for cultivation at 37° C and 41° C, a hybridization oven, a UV cross linker, and a laboratory microwave.

Partial Listing of Readily Available Instruments and Equipment

The following represents the kind of equipment that students, faculty, and researchers have at their disposal to facilitate their experimental work.

  • Shimadzu high-performance gas and liquid chromatographs
  • Mass Spectrometer
  • Liquid scintillation counter
  • Total-carbon analyzer
  • Incubators (multiple shaker and static incubators in several labs)
  • Equipment for molecular biology, including DNA-based research at Master’s and Ph.D. levels
  • Water baths
  • Ovens, including a muffle oven in Biogeochemistry Teaching Lab
  • Field monitoring and sampling equipment for biogeochemistry research
  • Ultra-pure water system
  • Autoclave Room: With two autoclaves, a glassware washer, and two laboratory water purifiers, this is an efficient, high-capacity room used by faculty and students at Bren and from other UCSB students and faculty.
  • Climate Control Rooms: Bren Hall has six climate-control rooms. Two are maintained at -20° C and two are maintained at 4° C. The other two are variable-temperature rooms able to be set at any temperature between -40° C and 4° C.


Other Instruments and Equipment

In addition to what is available in the widely accessible teaching and research labs, individual Bren Ph.D. and master’s students who are conducting specific kinds of research and have received appropriate training and permission, may have access to an array of specialized equipment and instrumentation, including the following.

  • Mettler top-loading balance (for weighing items to .01 grams)
  • SCUBA equipment
  • Commercial lobster trap fishing mechanism (for collaborative fisheries research)
  • Dissecting microscopes
  • Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (measures current direction and velocity, and wave energy)
  • Nikon Optiphot-M epi-fluorescent optical microscope with a Charged-Coupled Device (CCD) camera mounted directly onto the eye-piece for observing the migration of colloidal particles within micro models.
  • Dynamic contact angle analyzer
  • Hewlett Packard 6890 GC/MS with auto sampler
  • Decagon thermocouple psychrometer
  • Hybaid PCR instrumentation
  • Turner Bio systems fluorometer