Access Rules and User Policies

The major goal of the MSBU facility is to make equipment and training for molecular biology techniques available for everyone in the department. We extend an invitation to all members of the department to use the facility for their research program, especially those who do not currently use molecular techniques, or use only a limited set, so that we can enhance the breadth of our research programs.

We provide a flexible fee schedule which reflects the level of training and technical support required.

At present, we provide the following services and training:

  • DNA sequencing
  • DNA fragment size analysis
  • Quantitative PCR
  • Bioanalyzer Training
  • Next Generation Sequencing

In addition to basic and advanced training, a major role of the facility will be to provide to members of the Department a range of general and specialized services in molecular biology (from full-service to self-serve) for DNA sequencing, fragment analysis (microsatellites, AFLPs, etc.), and other techniques and applications at the best possible prices.

Who gets to use the facility?

Departmental members permitted access are:

  • Faculty members
  • Technicians
  • Post-docs and graduate students

Anyone who does not fit into one of the above categories must be approved by the oversight committee and may have their access limited. The normal rules of personnel access apply to all users given permission to use the facility.

The MBSU does not allow untrained users into the facility. Access is tracked with the ONECard reader, and your supervisor will be held responsible for your conduct while using the facility.

Access policy for collaborators outside the Department of Biological Sciences:

  • The primary goal of the facility is to serve users in the Department, but collaborative projects are encouraged so long as they are along the general lines of research of the departmental partner.
  • The departmental partner must be demonstrably working on the collaboration.
  • Outside partners can use equipment in the facility and pay for services, so long as they (or their personnel) are in the department to perform the bulk of the work.
  • Large collaborative projects will be passed to the oversight committee for consideration for approval. If approved, priority of access to equipment or technical assistance may be given to other users.

Facility Operating Hours

The facility is open from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday to Friday. After-hour access can be gained by using an approved ONEcard.

Rules of Personnel Access

Anyone who is trained appropriately can use any of the resources in the MBSU, but there are general rules that must be followed before and during use, by all users.

  • The Departmental MBSU technicians will have full and priority access to equipment and laboratory space during the day. They will have primary care and control of the facility, and the oversight committee will support them in enforcing the rules and regulations. The technicians will monitor the facility and strictly enforce a fair-usage schedule.
  • Users will not allow others to come into the facility after hours. In other words, you may not bring in friends to help you along after hours. You (and your supervisor) will be held responsible for everything that happens while interlopers are present. Your presence in the facility will be recorded with your ONEcard, and transgressions will result in suspension of access privileges.
  • Individuals must be trained on each piece of major equipment that they intend to use, or demonstrate to an MBSU technician that they know how to do so. "Major" equipment includes the automated sequencers, thermocyclers, quantitative PCR machine, and computers. Usage will be tracked via login ID's for users of the automated sequencers and other equipment (see below). Following completion of training, first-time users will be supervised by the relevant MBSU technician. Training sessions will be held as they are required.
  • After completion of training on a new piece of equipment, users will sign a form (copied to the supervisor) stating that they have received training in machine usage, and that they understand and will abide by all the rules and regulations of the facility. The individual will then be allowed general access to the facility.

Bookings and Cancellations

All bookings are done in person at the MBSU facility: 5-047 CCIS Building.

All equipment must be booked before it can be used, even if the machine is not currently in use. Bookings may be canceled up to 24 hours prior to the booking time without penalty.

Users who no-show or cancel with less than 24 hours notice will still be charged.

Equipment Availability

All major pieces of equipment can be booked by users with relevant access privileges.


Full Service (i.e., MBSU staff do the reactions for you): Samples brought in before 11:00 AM will be processed and loaded the same day, with results available the next morning at about 10:00. If the run for the day is full, the samples will go on the next day's run.

Partial Service: Samples that you have prepared that are brought in before 8:00 AM will be loaded on the same day, unless the run is full. If the run for the day is full, the samples will be loaded on the next day's run.

Self-serve: Please see facility staff if you have questions about self-serve sequencing.


These will be available on a first come, first served basis. We anticipate a high volume of usage. Each user will be expected to leave a labeled rack for the next user to place their reactions in. The subsequent user will be held responsible for securely storing the previous user's reactions, prior to running their own reactions.

Oversight Committee

The members of the Oversight Committee include: Anthony Cornish (committee chair), Corey Davis, Troy Locke, Sophie Dang, Cheryl Nargang, and a user group. The oversight committee reports to the Associate Chair Research.