University of Dubuque Awarded $47,048 Grant to Purchase New Autoclave

Aug 22, 2019 | University Relations staff

DUBUQUE, Iowa – University of Dubuque was awarded $47,048 from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust to purchase a new autoclave that will primarily support UD’s biology and nursing programs as well as student-faculty research.

Autoclaves are used to sterilize culture media, biohazardous waste, and equipment. The new, single door, hinged autoclave from Consolidated Sterilizer Systems was recently installed in the University Science Center on campus. It replaced an old autoclave that no longer worked and was unrepairable. The new autoclave will be integrated into courses and student-faculty research in fall 2019.

“Autoclaves are necessary equipment for science departments that provide interactive educational and research opportunities for students. Well-rounded science students should have experiences in all aspects of lab work, which includes preparation for experiments and clean-up afterward, rather than simply completing laboratory course activities,” said David Koch, PhD, associate professor and head of the Department of Natural and Applied Sciences.

Around 160 students each year take courses with laboratory components that are impacted by the use of an autoclave. While the majority of those students are biology and nursing majors, other students who are impacted include those in environmental science, education, and other health-oriented fields. In addition, around 30 undergraduate students engage in research at UD, and many of those projects rely on autoclave sterilization in some form.

“Students anticipating further education or scientific professions that would use an autoclave would have opportunities to operate the autoclave and appreciate its importance in their profession. Students will also be taught how to prepare culture media, which must be sterilized in an autoclave so only the target organism grows in the culture. Sterilization of instruments and glassware prior to lab work is also vital to ensure a lack of contamination. Lastly, after lab work is finished, waste must be autoclaved to kill pathogens. This includes not only pathogens used in microbiology research, but also pathogens that may exist in soil and other media used for other research projects,” Koch said.

The Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust supports biomedical and scientific research, scholarships, and programs addressing the educational and recreational needs of youth.