Facilities

Our Department houses world class facilities for studying health and environment issues, using anthropological theory and tools, in addition to tools from many other disciplines.

Archaeometry & Radiocarbon Sample Preparation Laboratory

The ARSP Lab, directed by Dr. Julie A. Hoggarth, is a sample preparation facility for archaeological or geological samples for radiocarbon dating and isotopic measurement. Housed within a recently renovated space, the facility includes both dry- and wet-lab areas for organic and carbonate sample preparation, including bone collagen extraction and purification. Radiocarbon sample preparation equipment include a standard fume hood, drying oven, freezer, balances, centrifuge, Virtis lyophilizer, Labconco vortex evaporator, a programmable muffle furnace, and a vacuum line for sealing radiocarbon samples prior to combustion. The line is made with Swagelok Ultra-Torr fittings on stainless steel drawn by an oil-free Pfieffer turbo pump, and has been modeled on lines in use at the KCCAMS lab (UC Irvine) and the Human Paleoecology and Isotope Geochemistry Lab (Penn State). The lab has been swiped for the presence of 14C tracer and maintains constant quality controls on radiocarbon processing with the Penn State AMS facility through use of international and internal known-age lab standards (e.g., OX-1, Queets Wood, Beaufort Whale, FIRI secondaries).

The lab is equipped to address research related to isotope geochemistry and radiocarbon dating for archaeological, environmental, or geological samples. We currently have the capabilities to process organic and carbonate materials (e.g. charcoal/wood, bone, shell, etc.) to be submitted for stable isotopic measurement and/or AMS radiocarbon dating. Samples submitted for dating are prepped and combusted to CO2 gas, which is sent to the Penn State AMS Facility where it is converted to graphite and the AMS 14C measurements are made.

Core Laboratory

Dr. Muehlenbein directs this core lab facility utilized by a number of investigators interested in human and nonhuman primate biomarkers (endocrinology, immunology, metabolic function, and senescence), genomic analyses, and infectious disease diagnostics. Techniques involve immunoassays, flow-cytometry, Next-Generation sequencing, and Liquid Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry. We are capable of measuring steroids in hair samples and hormones in blood, saliva, urine, and feces. We prep samples for next generation sequencing and have automated nucleic acid purification. We have developed a variety of functional immunological measures, including lymphocyte proliferation with subsequent cytokine excretion, bacteria killing assays, hemolytic complement assays, specializing in measures in saliva and urine. Electronic pipetting means our CVs are lower. Samples are secured and organized using the latest methods. There does not exist a more capable and equipped laboratory in evolutionary anthropology, anywhere. We embrace a mix of quantitative and qualitative data collection, measurement, and analysis methods. Questions in human biology, primatology, conservation medicine, evolutionary endocrinology, and ecological immunology are answered here.

We have our own study participant facility, storeroom, office space, meeting space, two computer laboratories, and a BSL2+ laboratory. In addition to our personal 24TB server that backs up everything nightly with a RAID 1+0 configuration, uninterruptable power supplies on all cold storage equipment and computers, and a dedicated security camera system, we have access to a BD LSR-II flow cytometer, ABI 7900HT realtime system, Illumina MiSeq, and Bioplex 200 Multiplex flow cytometry system. Sample/reagent storage and organization is provided by: four Thermo TSX -80 freezers, one Revco -20 enzyme freezer, and one Revco chromatography (double-wide) refrigerator; MVE and Thermo cryogenic storage equipment for up to 10,000 samples in liquid nitrogen; VisionMate 2D barcode tube and rack tracking system; Brady cryogenic tube labeling system. Basic equipment includes: two Nuaire Class II A2 Biological safety cabinets; Barnstead Micropure UV/UF water purification system; Fisher waterbaths with Lab Armour beads; Mettler Toledo XS2002s and XS205 balances; Beckman Avanti J-26XPI centrifuge with multiple rotors; Beckman 22R microcentrifuge; and Eppendorf electronic Repeater Stream dispensers (2) and electronic Xplorer pipettes (8). Specialized sample preparation equipment includes: Retsch Mixer Mill MM400 with stainless steel grinding jars and balls; Thermo Savant SpeedVac SPB1010 evaporator system; Fisher incubating shakers; Eppendorf Mixmate shakers and Thermomixer C controlled temperature mixers. ELISA equipment includes: Bio-Tek Epoch2 spectrophotometer; Bio-Tek 405 Touch microplate washer with ultrasonic cleaning and biomagnetic separation carrier; PlatR pipetting system by BioSistemika. Microbiology/parasitology equipment includes: Thermo Accuspin 24C centrifuge; Hirayama Hiclave HG-50 autoclave dedicated for agar preparation; Zeiss Primostar microscope with Moticam digital camera system; UVP Colony Doc-It imaging system for counting bacteria colonies. Cell culture equipment includes: Miltenyi MACSxpress cell separator; Vacuspin aspiration system; Thermo Hera VIOS copper-lined C02 incubator; Bio-Rad TC20 cell counter; Biocision Thawstar automated thawing system. Sequencing/expression equipment includes: two Sorvall Legend Micro21 microcentrifuges; Qiagen QIAcube nucleic acid extraction system; Thermo Qubit flurometric quantitation system; Bio-Tek Take3 microvolume analyzer; Eppendorf Mastercycler Pro S gradient thermal cycler; Bio-Rad CFX96 realtime PCR detection system.


Forensics

Our forensic labs are dedicated to teaching forensic and criminal investigative techniques as well as facilitating forensic research. We utilize private indoor and outdoor facilities for experimentation and hands on activities to deliver a real world experience. Among these are a private firing range and collaboration with the Baylor Law School. Our students also have the opportunity from time to time to assist local and state law enforcement with real world crime scene investigations.

Human Evolutionary Anatomy Laboratory

Located in Marrs McLean Science Building room 361, the lab is equipped with a plastinated human cadaver, surgical lights, autopsy table, and a world-class collection of anatomical models of individual organs, limbs, etc. This lab supports both research and teaching efforts. INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE HEAL? Contact us for details: (254) 710-1401; joseph_ferraro@baylor.edu.

Human Osteology and Hominin Cast Laboratory

Located in Marrs McLean Science Building room 360, the lab currently houses dozens of modern human and non-human primate skeletons, more than 1300 additional isolated human bones and teeth, and a sizable collection of models/casts of prehistoric hominins. It is equipped with a 3-D scanner, various calipers, digital cameras, and a reference library. The lab supports both research and teaching efforts. INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THIS LABORATORY? Contact us for details: (254) 710-1401; joseph_ferraro@baylor.edu.

Vertebrate Osteology and Zooarchaeology Laboratory

Located in Marrs McLean Science Building room 357, the lab is equipped with a fume hood, storage freezer, microscopes, digital cameras, 3-D scanners, and high-intensity lamps. The Lab supports both research and teaching efforts. The zooarchaeology collection contains the skeletal remains of over 160 individual animals, representing a range of classes, orders, families, and genera. Our coverage of mammals from Africa and Texas is particularly good, and we are steadily improving our sampling from other regions. These materials play an important role in our archaeology classes, as well as in non-human bone identification lectures in Human Osteology and Forensic Anthropology.

Our bone damage/taphonomy collection includes experimentally-derived samples of: carnivore tooth marks, stone tool cut marks, hammerstone percussion marks, carnivore and hammerstone notches, metal knife cut marks, multiple forms of saw damage, ax damage, bullet damage, fire/thermal damage, blunt force fractures, green bone & dry bone fractures, bone weathering stages, biochemical marks, root etching, small mammal/rodent damage, insect damage, and excavation damage, among others. We use these as teaching materials in courses such as Human Osteology, Forensic Anthropology, and Death, Injury, and Physical Remains, as well as in Zooarchaeology and The Human Fossil Record. They also serve as the basis of several ongoing research projects.

Our lithic artifact collection contains a range of Paleolithic tool forms, from Oldowan cores and flakes to Upper Paleolithic blades and Solutrean points. We are also actively building a regional collection of Native American arrowheads and points. These artifacts play an important role in our classes (Lithic Analysis, African Archaeology, The Human Fossil Record, etc.), and as well as of several ongoing research projects. Locally-available Georgetown flint provides students with numerous opportunities to engage in knapping and butchering activities, up to and including the Department’s Annual Knap-In & Goat Roast!

NOTE TO RANCHERS AND HUNTERS: We are systematically adding to our collection and regularly process/skeletonize carcasses at the Department’s outdoor decomposition yard (the O’Grady Facility). We acquire many of our animals from local Central Texas sources (e.g., exotic livestock ranchers, sportsmen, etc.). If you are in possession of a recently deceased animal, and are potentially interested in donating it to the Lab, please contact us at (254) 710-1401; joseph_ferraro@baylor.edu. No animal is too big or too unusual. We also accept rare taxidermy specimens. We will travel to pick up any specimens. Your animals will find a caring home in our collection, and will provide benefits to science and education for years to come. As a bonus, your donation is potentially tax-deductible.

INTERESTED IN DONATING YOUR ARROWHEAD/LITHICS COLLECTION? Your artifacts will be a valued addition to our collection and will greatly improve our ability to teach lab-based archaeology classes. Contact us for details: (254) 710-1401; joseph_ferraro@baylor.edu.