Department of Chemistry

Undergraduate Research Center

The Undergraduate Research Lab is designed to provide USM students with the equipment they need to be able to perform hands-on research. This state-of-the-art laboratory includes gas chromatographs, spectrophotometers, mass spectrometers and a level two biological safety room.

 Using the chromatographs, Direct Mercury Analyzer, and spectrophotometers students perform toxicology studies. By measuring the absorption of electromagnetic waves, students can determine the concentration of various toxins in samples. The mass spectrometer then allows them to determine what kinds of toxins are present in the sample. This research has implications for marine biology and ecological studies. Both of which are vitally important to both Maine’s economy and world health.

The lab is also used to study the possibility of using micro organism in a process called bioremediation - using biological agents to clean up the environment. The equipment in the lab allows the students to use such processes as Polymerase chain reaction, centrifuge separation, and liquid chromatography in order to conduct this research. Thanks to the presence of the biological safety room, students are able to use biological agents not available to many labs.