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Lab Facilities

Major equipment:

  • Applied Biosystems VeritiPro Thermal Cycler

  • BluePippin, DNA Size Selection for Next-Gen Sequencing, with Pulsed-Field (100bp – 50kb)

  • Nanopore Sequencing (MinION Mk1C): Up to 50 Gb per MinION Flow Cell / 2.8 Gb per Flongle Flow Cell

  • Portable Chlorophyll meter

  • Soil sensors: Moisture, temperature, pH, EC, TDS, salinity

  • GHG sensors: Portable and stationary CO2 sensors with data recording abilities via software

  • Isotemp Digital Dry Baths

  • Gel electrophoresis system

  • Western blotting system

  • Thermo Scientific Invitrogen Qubit 4 Fluorometer

  • Eppendorf™ Centrifuge 5920 R

  • High-Performance Liquid Chromatography: Thermo Scientific™ UltiMate™ 3000) for metabolite quantification and analysis. It has all the necessary columns and accessories to analyze the exudating root phenolics, flavonoids, and diterpenes.

  • Applied Biosystems QuantStudio™ 7 Flex Real-Time PCR System: This system has increased application versatility by accommodating 4 different block types.Compatible with over 8 million TaqMan® assays for gene expression, genetic variation, gene regulation, or protein expression experiments. The intelligent design of the QuantStudio™ platform combined with Applied Biosystems® instrument reliability and accuracy.

  • New Brunswick BioFlo 110 Fermentation System

  • GC-MS/MS, TQ-8040, Shimadzu: This instrument is a triple quadrupole system designed for smart productivity for high efficiency sample throughput, quick and easy method development, and for low detection limits and Scan/MRM, Comes with Electron Impact (EI), Chemical Ionization (CI), and Negative Chemical Ionization (NCI) modes of operation from 10 to 1090 amu and a mass resolution of 0.5 – 3.0 amu, 150 vial autosampler, Triple quadrupole MS detector, FID detector.

  • ELISA microplate reader: The lab has Tecan Spark 10M that is used for spectroscopic analysis of microbial growth, antioxidant activities, soil enzyme activities, and enzyme inhibition kinetic assays. The instrument includes UV/VIS spectra top & bottom with Time-resolved fluorescence (TRF), NanoQuant plate, Temperature control (RT+3°C – 42°C), Liquid dispensers with reagent heater and stirrer, DNA/RNA quantification etc.

  • Spectrum Two N FT-NIR/Sp10:  The Spectrum Two instrument is based on a DynaScan interferometer with CaF2 optics. It delivers a scan range of 14,700 to 2000cm-1 while offering 1cm-1 resolution and typically <10 μA RMS noise over 250nm range for a 1-minute scan in a sleek, compact design. 

  • Rotary evaporator: The lab is equipped with a rotary evaporator to prepare samples for metabolomics. It can handle several different kinds of solvent systems. The Rotavapor® R-300 meets the highest expectations of convenience and versatility in rotary evaporation.

 Other equipment available:

  • Shakers (open)

  • Plate spinner Fisherbrand

  • Vertex table top Fisherbrand

  • Potable pH/EC/Salinity meter Hanna

  • Portable Balance (3 decimal places; higher capacity)

  • Magnetic Sterir

  • Soil sample collection

  • Heating plate Fisher

  • Waring industrial blender (microbial isolations from soils

  • Hirayama Autoclave, a medical autoclave, uses steam to sterilize equipment and other objects.

  • Several refrigerators and freezers are available to store the samples at 4oC, -20oC.

  • -80-degree C deep freezer to store antibodies, and purified enzymes for a long period.

  • BSL1 and BSL2 Biosafety benches

  • PCR workstation


Core-lab instrumentations:

  • Applied Biosystems ProFlex™ 3x32-Well PCR machine

  • Applied Biosystems QuantStudio™ 7 Flex Real-Time PCR System

  • Dionex™ ICS-5000+ with Electrochemical and UV Detector

  • BioTek ELx405™ Plate Washer

  • GE AKTA Fast Performance Liquid Chromatography Protein Purification system

  • New Brunswick BioFlo 110 Fermentation System

  • Opentrons OT-One S Automatic microplate-based pipetting station

  • Confocal laser scanning microscope

  • Fluorescence Imaging Microscope

  • Powder X-ray diffraction machine

  • Multiple photobioreactors (1 gal to 25 gallons) to cultivate algae.

  • The Automatic Methane Potential Test System (AMPTS)

  • Labconco freeze dryer.

  • Confocal microscope

  • Light microscope

  • SEM and TEM 


Plant growth and tissue culture room:  A room in Khan’s lab contains 14 shelves of lights for growing plants in highly controlled conditions. In addition, the same room is also annexed with a separate plant tissue culture facility that hosts Biosafety Type-A2 benches and air-lift bioreactors.

Biobubble: A full sensor and wireless controlled 6 x 5 ft controlled environmental system for plant growth, climate change and plant-microbe interaction. 


Field station:  The University of Houston Coastal Center (UHCC) is a 1,000-acre facility containing natural and modified ecosystems. An on-site building contains office space, a 900-ft2 laboratory, and a garage for storage. The UHCC maintains a fleet of vehicles and a tractor for prepping and maintaining experiments. One full-time employee lives at the UHCC and assists with field prep for experiments. There is also a greenhouse for plant propagation and two micrometeorology towers.

Rooftop open space for plant growth. 

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