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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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NHB LAB
Facility at the Natural History Building

The LAB is the biotechnology core of the NMNH molecular research programs.

Mission: To enable biodiversity discovery and documentation utilizing modern biotechnology and bioinformatics platforms.

Facilities: NMNH and SI researchers can utilize either of two LAB facilities to conduct their molecular research:

Natural History Building (NHB): LAB has recently opened a brand new laboratory facility in the NMNH Natural History Building. Approximately 13,000 ft2 overall, with a large 9,000 ft2 general lab space, this facility will accommodate two thirds or approximately 65 of our users and is designed to be flexible for other potential future uses. Desk space can host 45-50 users with shared office space for 12 staff. The shared computer lab has multiple options for data visualization and analysis. A small pre-PCR or DNA extraction lab is available, and there is a dedicated room for the sensitive instrumentation.

Museum Support Center (MSC): The LAB spaces at MSC will begin to undergo renovation in 2012. We will be in temporary space and functional during the entire renovation process. The MSC labs will retain the majority of the DNA extraction capability, and will include dedicated ancient DNA labs as well.

Robotics: The engines behind the research are the automation and robotics capabilities that enable scores of researchers to conduct cutting edge research on emerging topics including conservation, global warming, environmental change and monitoring, biodiversity and systematics. LAB's automated DNA extractors have a capacity in excess of 2000 high-quality archival genomic extracts per day, and we have over 75 thermal cyclers in our two facilities. Four capillary DNA sequencers (two are 96 capillary each) and three Ion Torrent PGM (Personal Genome Machine) next gen sequencers are also available.

Computers: Our computer labs have high-end CPUs with increased RAM and monitors for visualizing and working with molecular data. For large analysis tasks the LAB administers the Topaz parallel computing cluster located at the Smithsonian's Data Center in Herndon, VA, and we are also connected to the University of Maryland's Lattice grid computing network.

Staff: The LAB has staff dedicated to the DNA Barcoding initiative, as well as a core staff to provide support and training on all the resources available in addition to hosting departmental and P.I. technicians.

Contact us

We have two lab spaces in the DC area:

Natural History Building, in Washington, D.C.
U.S. Postal Mail (not for biological samples, all mail is irradiated prior to delivery):
Laboratories of Analytical Biology

National Museum of Natural History
PO BOX 37012, MRC 183
Washington DC 20013-7012

Shipments (including biological material):
Laboratories of Analytical Biology
Natural History Building
10th & Constitution Aves. NW
Washington, DC 20560-0188

Museum Support Center, MSC, in Suitland, Maryland
Shipping and mailing address (MSC)
Laboratories of Analytical Biology
Museum Support Center
4210 Silver Hill Rd, MRC 534
Suitland MD 20746

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