Biological Materials

Man working in science lab, Fraden Lab 

The Biological Materials Facility (BMF) exists to make biological materials used in the MRSEC and that are not available commercially accessible to both Brandeis and extramural materials scientists that do not have the equipment and expertise needed to produce and handle them themselves. The BMF promotes adoption of MRSEC model systems through distribution of materials, consulting, and training visitors.  The BMF has provided support to 30 different research groups spanning nine countries. 

The BMF is equipped to conduct expression, purification, and biochemical/biophysical analysis of proteins and protein complexes used by both the MRSEC interdisciplinary research groups (IRG), IRG1: Membrane-based Materials and IRG2: Biological Active Materials. A variety of high-performance liquid chromatography tools are already available and will grow to suit the needs of BMF clients.

Clients are welcome and encouraged to participate in these activities either under supervision of BMF staff or independently with demonstrated competence. Consulting is also available on design, conduct, and interpretation of any research involving biological materials. These services are also accessible to users outside of MRSEC or Brandeis University who can provide their own consumables. 

For more information, contact Biofacilities Lab Director Shibani Dalal.

Expand All / Collapse All

Available Resources and Services


We offer the following equipment. Please contact Dr. Shibani Dalal for access or more information.


1. Shaking incubators (total shaken flask capacity 17 x 2 L)

a. Excella E25 - no refrigeration, 10 x 2 L
b. Barnstead MaxQ 4000 A-Class - in the cold room, 4 x 2 L

2. Stationary incubators - 2 x VWR, shelves, no movement

3. Fermenter - New Brunswick BioFlo 320

     Working volume range: 0.6-1.9 L (0.25-40 L with a user-supplied single-use vessel (∼$500))


1.  Centrifuges

a. Beckman Optima TL (100,000 RPM)
b. Beckman Avanti J-30I (30,000 RPM)
c. Beckman Optima XE-90 (90,000 RPM)
d. Sorvall Legend RT (15,000 RPM)

2.  Rotors

Speed Capacity
a.  Type 45 Ti 235,000 x g 6 x 70 mL
b.  Type 90 Ti 694,000 x g 8 x 13.5 mL
c.  JA-30.50 Ti 108,860 x g 8 x 50 mL
d.  JA-10 17,700 x g 6 x 500 mL
e.  TLA 100.4 543,000 x g 8 x 5.1 mL
f.  Heraeus 6445 3,716 x g 4 x 750 mL

Protein PurificationProtein Purification equipment

a. AKTA Pure Chromatography system
b. Unicorn 6.4 control software
c. UV (280 nm) absorbance detector
d. F9-R fraction collector (175 x 12 mm tubes or 95 x 18 mm tubes)
e. Pre-packed columns

ALV/DLS/SLS-5000 Light Scattering SystemALV

     View the ALV Manual and Software Screenshots

Typhoon FLA 9500Typhoon FLA 9500

Typhoon FLA 9500 is a variable mode laser scanner with modular access to the optical components, providing both versatile and flexible imaging for precise quantitation of proteins, nucleic acids, and other biomolecules.

     View the Typhoon FLA9500 User Manual

Cold Room Bench Space

Materials Production

MRSEC investigators have developed a number of biologically inspired experimental model systems, ranging from microtubule based active matter1-5 to colloidal membranes6-9. BMF supports MRSEC investigations of active and soft matter through large-scale production of the cells, proteins, and viruses. We are now extending this service to the broader community including extramural labs. BMF wants to help you get started studying biological material in your own lab by supplying samples and/or training you to make your own. Outside investigators are welcome to visit. 

Currently ongoing production

  • Cells: E. coliSalmonella
  • Purified proteins:  microtubules, kinesins, flagella
  • Purified filamentous bacteriophages: fd, M13
Active Matter
A great deal of interest has arisen in the material properties of the Active Matter model system consisting of extensile microtubule bundles developed by the Dogic lab here, at the Brandeis MRSEC. This mixture of purified microtubules, kinesin, and a minimal set of supporting chemicals yields a self-pumping gel with unique properties and numerous potential applications. We want to help you get started studying this material in your own lab by supplying a small amount of sample and/or training you to make your own. 
  • Typhoon imager access
  • General fluorescence uses and techniques (intensity, anisotropy/polarization, FRET, etc.)
  • Protein purification
  • Biochemistry