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Beckman Institute at Caltech

Anand G Shankar | Content Lead


California Institute of Technology (Caltech) stands as a forefront institution for Biological Science Research, housing the prestigious Beckman Institute. Renowned for its ground-breaking studies, Beckman Institute spearheads both fundamental and cutting-edge research in biological systems and the essence of life.

Here is the list of activities at Beckman Institute, and plan your graduate research plan based on the facilities available.

The Biological Imaging Facility (BIF) at Caltech, formerly known as the Biological Imaging Center (BIC), offers state-of-the-art light microscopy resources. Situated in the Caltech Beckman Institute basement, BIF houses 10 microscopes, including confocal and light sheet systems. Notable equipment includes Zeiss laser scanning confocal microscopes (LSMs) and a Leica STELLARIS 8 FALCON confocal system with TauSense. BIF provides computational resources for data analysis, featuring Imaris from Bitplane and Huygens from Scientific Volume Imaging B.V. Users can access instruments through an online calendar system, with modest recharge rates for Caltech users and higher rates for external users. Training classes are also available.

The Caltech Center for Catalysis and Chemical Synthesis (3CS) offers Caltech researchers specialized resources for high throughput discovery. Robotic liquid handling enables fully automated or "walk-up" mode experiments.

The Protein Expression Center offers researchers ample quantities of proteins crucial to their investigations. It accommodates small, medium, and large-scale cultures of various cells, from bacteria to mammalian lines. Specializing in the baculovirus expression system, it efficiently produces diverse proteins. The facility also conducts molecular biology techniques and assists with tissue culture.

Since 1992, Caltech's X-Ray Crystallography Facility (XRCF) has facilitated scientific inquiry. Its core mission involves elucidating crystal structures of diverse molecules, from organics to organometallics. Equipped with Bruker single crystal diffractometers and added powder diffractometers in 2020, the facility expands analytical capabilities for the Caltech community's benefit.

The Caltech Flow Cytometry/Cell Sorting Facility assists researchers in analyzing and sorting cells and micro-organisms based on light scatter and fluorescence properties. It houses two cell sorters: a Sony SY3200 and a BDFACS Aria Fusion, along with two flow cytometers: a Miltenyi Biotec MACSQuant VYB and a Beckman Coulter Cytoflex.

The Zebrafish/Lamprey Facility at Beckman Institute facilitates Caltech research with zebrafish and lamprey. Zebrafish's transparency aids real-time observation of vertebrate development and disease modeling. The facility offers transgenic zebrafish creation, Xenopus resources, and lamprey embryo generation. Equipped with automated housing systems and advanced microscopy, it supports diverse studies.

Caltech's Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Facility (EPR) offers cutting-edge spectroscopy tools for analyzing samples with paramagnetic components. The goal is to deliver a range of continuous-wave and pulse EPR techniques for precise characterization, aided by expert guidance and optimal experiment design. The facility houses two Bruker EPR spectrometers.


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