New Science Labs Underway for Fall 2017

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New Science Labs Underway for Fall 2017

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By VICTORIA MICALIZZI 
Contributing Writer

If you happen to be passing room 816 of the Leon Lowenstein building and peer into the window of the door you will see a large, dark, empty room undergoing extensive renovations. Formerly one of the larger classrooms in the Lowenstein building, able to hold up to 70 students, LL 816 will soon be converted into a set of new labs for the natural sciences department.

The primary reason for this addition is to teach more classes. The current lab space is constantly in use, cluttered with equipment and specimens, and too limited to facilitate enough science classes.

Chair of the Natural Sciences department Jason Morris, Ph.D. said, “Our department has needed more space for a very long time,” In addition to natural science classes these labs hold classes for all core physical science requirements, some core life sciences, environmental science, pre-health and integrated neuroscience. The current lab facilities are simply not enough space.

Furthermore, enrollment in science classes has been rising, which introduces a need to open up more classes. According to Morris, the department has even had trouble with offering enough classes for timely graduations due to the lack of lab space.

The need for expanding lab space and the idea to possibly use LL 816 to accomplish this is more than a decade old but the request was granted this year, according to Morris. In the past the crowded Fordham Lincoln Center campus, high Manhattan real estate costs and the needs of other departments to balance had hindered the increase in lab space. In the interim, the department has taken advantage of the new classrooms in the 140 West building.

The new space will serve several purposes. Half of the room will be used as a general teaching lab for classes such as physical science, and there will also be a room for confocal microscopy, an important technique in cell biology, genetics and molecular biology research. Also, Dr. Alma Rodenas Ruano, Ph.D., a new faculty member who is a neurophysiologist and a geneticist, will have space to conduct research on the nervous systems of zebrafish.

These renovations will facilitate more research opportunities, and better, more exciting work in the labs. All research at Lincoln Center is done with undergraduate students so the lab space will also create more opportunities for students to present work and research.

“This is a great opportunity for the college. It’s going to improve our research and our teaching and it’s going to a affect a lot of students,” Morris said.

According to Brian J. Byrne, Ph.D., Vice President for Fordham College at Lincoln Center, the construction is on schedule for the labs to be finished during the summer of 2017, and they will be available for use starting in the fall semester.