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Vidal-Gadea Lab
Vidal-Gadea Lab
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At the molecular neuroethology lab we use a variety of techniques in order to dissect the neural and genetic bases of behavior. B​elow is a tour of the equipment we are fortunate to have at our disposal as well as their most common use.​​​​​​​​

We are located on the third floor of the Laboratory Science Building at Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois.
 125 S. Fell Avenue, Normal IL, 61761
Facility                                                                                         ​
Here are a couple of panoramic views of our lab.​​​​​

Equipment                                                                                  ​
List of the equipment we use in our lab and what it is commonly used for:

injection rig.jpg
Confocal Microscope: ​
We recently acquired a confocal microscope in collaboration with the Gatto and Mortimer labs. This Zeiss LSM510 META confocal microscope is equipped with a motorized stage, and several detectors that allow us to create high resolution images of worm tissues in our own time. The microscope is used by a handful of labs and by the classes taught by t he PIs.

injection rig.jpg
Injection and Calcium Rig: ​
In order to create transgenic animals, we use this inverted microscope (AxioVert A1) equipped with a Narashige hydraulic manipulator. We also use the Optimos camera mounted on its side to make measurmemnts of calcium transients in the neurons of worms. The setup rest on an TMC antivibration table.​
Our 4°C Fridges (top and middle left) are used to store common reagents and solutions (saline, broths, etc.) as well as for keeping bacterial stocks for regular experiments. 

-20°C Freezer  (bottom left) is used to keep molecular reagents viable (DNA, enzymes, etc.).

We maintain our bacterial and worm stocks in a -80°C Freezer (bottom).

Water Bath: ​
This heated water bath is used to transform bacteria. That is, when we would like to harness the amazing replicating power of bacteria, we put them in this nice warm bath with our favoritepiece of DNA. Bacteria will then take up the DNA and will later make copies of it when it divides.

Incubators: ​
This incubators are used in making males and culturing bacteria
Hybridiser: ​
This incubator is used in blotting and other protocols where we want to detect proteins in our samples. By controlling the temperature of the oven we can induce the typically hermaphrodite worms to produce males, or alternatively we can incubate bacteria in agar plates. Unfortunately its maximum temperature peaks at 100°C, which is 65°C below threcommended roasting temperature for chickens (plus the rotating cylinders could not accept anything above a 2lb bird anyway)!

Microwave: ​
This microwave oven is used to quickly heat solutions. We regularly use it to melt agar for assay plates.

Centrifuges: ​
We use this centrifuge (left) to spin samples at the high speeds required to pull molecules/cells/animals out of solution. We use the microcentrifuge (right) to quickly spin samples at the low speeds, typically to collect small liquid volumes at the bottom of a tube.

Disecting microscopes: ​
We use Leica and Zeiss stereoscopes to do regular worm upkeep (15). They have great optics, are affordable, and can be combined with our NighSea fluorescence setups. They are great for transferring worms between plates during routine worm husbandry. 

We also use the Zeiss Stemi 305 stereoscopes with onboard wifi cameras because they are great teaching scopes and have a very nice LED base. 

Fluorescent stereoscopes: ​
We have two fluorescent stereoscopes which are the workhorses of our lab. The LED bases allow us many illumination options that will not heat the worms; a video camera that allows us to video single and groups of animals for post hoc analysis; a solid state and a mercury halide fluorescent light boxes allows us to view fluorescent markers in the worms.

Thermocyclers: ​
The thermocycler is a fancy oven-fridge that can alternate heat and cool our samples in order for specific molecular reactions to occur. 


injection rig.jpg
Plasma oven: ​
We use our plasma oven to manufacture microfluidic chips used in calcium imaging experiments. The oven heast PDMS chips and glasss slides so that a perfect bond can be formed beteween them.
Shaker Incubator: ​
Our Shaker incubator lets us grow bacteria overnight for our experiments. They are really handy!
Electrophoresis system: ​
We use these boxes (left) to separate DNA and other molecules according to their size.  

Gel Reader: ​
This UV light (right) is used to visualize DNA molecules embedded in an agarose gel.

pH Meter: ​
We use this to measure the pH of solutions used in the lab.  

3D Printer: ​
We have a Robo R1 3D printer to help us manufacture custom equipment tailored for our experiments. The printer resides in our laboratory but is available to everyone in the department.  

Electrode Puller: ​
This machine uses a heating element and an electromagnet to heat and pull glass filaments to produce fine-tipped glass electrode sused to inject DNA into worms. 

Microinjector: ​
We use this machine to deliver small volumes of DNA-containing solution into the worms.

Scale: ​
This scale is used to measures the tiny (mg) amounts that are commonly used in our experiments.

Magnetic Cage: ​
This is a triple magnetic coil system we use to create magnetic fields and test the ability of worms to detect and orient to magnetic fields. Each set of four squares creates a field in the x, y, and z direction.

Tools: ​
From building a magnetic cage to building a dark room or microscope tables, having tools at hand is vital to lab operations.

Pipetters: ​
Essential tools for measuring and transferring precise volumes of liquids in all our reactions.

Temperature control: ​
While we have central temperaturte control, we also have dehumidifiers and AC units to help us maintain a control enviroement for our animals through the year.