Biology Facilities and Centers
Biology Facilities and Research Centers
Biology provides specialized facilities and centers which allow our students to learn and research outside the classroom.
From our award-winning Herbarium, to our rooftop Greenhouse, to our highly secure Biomedical Research Laboratories on the Sci-Tech campuse-- the Biology Department allows interested undergraduate students and graduate students unique opportunities to explore the biological sciences outside the classroom.
Mason’s Biomedical Research Laboratory (BRL)
The BRL, classified as Biosafety Level-3, allows scientists to research infectious diseases as well as both emerging and potential bio-threat agents. The BRL supports research programs of the Center for Infectious Disease Research (CIDR), and provides students the opportunity to perform groundbreaking research on diseases such as the influenza virus, Rift Valley Fever, Zika, HIV, Bacillus anthracis, and more.
The Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation (SMSC)
The SMSC occupies part of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, Virginia. Nestled alongside the Shenandoah National Park, the entire facility covers 3,200 acres of forest, grassland, and pastures. An active research facility, SCBI houses a range of endangered mammals, birds, and amphibians, which creates a compelling and engaging learning environment for program participants. Students complete coursework toward their major, concentration, and/or minors in Biology.
The Greenhouse classrooms
Located on the roof of Exploratory Hall, the greenhouse classrooms provide students with the opportunity to work with a wide variety of plants, from species indigenous to Virginia, to rare plants from Madagascar. Our greenhouse, under the direction of the Biology Department, uses new technology such as a fully automated climate control system, a drip irrigation system, and automated shades and vents to simulate the various growing environments.
The Ted R. Bradley Herbarium
The Ted R. Bradley Herbarium is an internationally-recognized scientific collection of dried, pressed plant specimens that are maintained for research and teaching by the Department of Biology. Its specimens are prepared with archival-quality materials, are intended to last for centuries, and are loaned to researchers nationwide and around the world. The Herbarium aims to engage the next generation of botanists and champions the careful stewardship of Virginia’s plant diversity through hands-on education, collections-based research, and public outreach.