The Microbiology and Molecular Biology Lab of the Interface Geochemistry group seeks to conduct research focused on the biological side of microbe-mineral interfaces. In particular, one of these interfaces involves the microbiome associated with glaciers and ice sheet surfaces. This research is carried out using a variety of culture-dependent and -independent techniques via a number of specialized instruments which are listed below.
The molecular biology laboratory is currently equipped with all facilities to carry out DNA extractions, polymerase chain reactions (PCR) and gel electrophoresis. Current research includes the biodiversity and functions of cryophilic microbiomes with the focus on snow and ice algal communities. The lab contains the following equipment:
Low Temperature Chamber
Contact: Rey Mourot
The environmental chamber (Percival LT-36VL) allows to perform incubation at set chosen environmental parameters, or following a program set by the user, with the possibility to mimic day-night or seasonal variations. Temperatures between -10 and 40°C are available, as well as fluctuation of light (visible, UV-A and UV-B independently) and CO2 levels. The chamber is used to reproduce supraglacial environments in the lab, and to perform stress experiments on microorganisms.
Real-time Thermal PCR Cycler - qTOWER3 G touch
Contact: Dr. Christopher Trivedi
Our qTower3 G touch qPCR machine is a 96-well format and currently uses one SYBR Green module, however, can be equipped with up to six for multiplexing capabilities. One main function of this system will be to evaluate stress parameters on microbial communities collected from Arctic snow and ice samples.
The microbiology-related work of our section is done in this lab, as it has the capabilities for preparing a wide range of media and sterile solutions though filtration, autoclaving or UV exposure. Two refrigerators are dedicated for culturing cryophilic and cryotolerant microbial species under different light exposures. Moreover, a circulating water bath allows the culture of microorganisms up to 40 °C. The lab is also equipped with Bunsen burners, a PCR chamber and a Class II Biological Safety Cabinet to facilitate working in a sterile environment.
Class II Biological Safety Cabinet
Contact: Rey Mourot
This laminar flow cabinet (ENVAIR) ensures microbiological work under protection against class 1 and class 2 pathogens for the user. It also allows to manipulate samples and cultures in a sterile environment to avoid contamination.