Molecular Biology & Analytical Chemistry

Cutting-Edge Research


The Research Institute encompasses seven rooms (approx. 4,285 square feet) of laboratory space. The laboratories, which were constructed in 2020, are very well equipped for molecular biology and analytical chemistry experimentation. The analytical chemistry and compound separation labs contain MPLC and HPLC instruments along with LC-MS capabilities for extract analysis and compound purification and characterization. In the bioassay/molecular biology labs, cell culture and virus culture facilities are available, along with equipment for molecular analysis to investigate effects on pathogen replication, changes in cell physiology, protein expression and activation, and alterations in gene expression. Smaller rooms are available for botanical storage and extract preparation, immunofluorescence, and gas storage room. In addition to the 4,285 square feet rooms above, there is also a seminar room with modern IT equipment and offices for employees. Each office has a desk and computer.

The Ric Scalzo Institute for Botanical Research carries multiple laboratory facilities including a Biosafety Level 2 (BSL2) molecular and cellular biology laboratory with cell/virus culture capabilities, a compound isolation laboratory, and a compound identification and quantification facility.

Assays and Platforms

Bacterial Infections
Bioassay Guided Fractionation HPLC, Column Separation, Solvent-Solvent Extraction
Botanical Formulation and Synergism
Compound IdentificationLC-MS and NMR
Cell ViabilityMTS Assays
EnergyATP Production and Mitochondrial Function
InflammationCytokine Production
Liver ToxicityCYP450 Activity
Mental HealthNeural Protections and Neurogenesis
Mucous ProductionrtPCR
Optimal Extract Preparation
Sebum Production
Signal Transduction Pathways and Protein ExpressionWestern Blot
Specific Gene ExpressionrtPCR
Skin CareProtein and Gene Expression
Steroid Hormone ProductionELISA
Stress/AnxietyGene Expression
Transcriptome ProfilingRegulation of Gene Expression
Viral InfectionsHerpes, Influenza, Rhinovirus, Poxvirus, Coronavirus
Wound HealingDermal Fibroblasts and Keratinocytes

Laboratory Equipment and Resources

The natural products/analytical chemistry laboratory has several instruments, including a semi-preparative HPLC system equipped with fractionation columns, DAD and ELSD detectors, and a fraction collector; an LC-MS instrument (UHPLC with DAD, SQ MS, and ELSD detectors); and an MPLC. Further equipment includes rotary evaporators, a sonicator, a benchtop dry mixer, a benchtop liquid mixer, an oven, a water bath sonicator, a helium tank, a nitrogen generator, a Jacketed Steam Kettles for extraction, REAX- shakers/ extractors, a Soxhlet extractor, SpeedVac, a freeze dryer, and centrifuges.

The bioassay/molecular biology laboratory is equipped with several instruments for cell, microbial, and virus cultures and bioassays, including CO2 incubators, biosafety cabinets, standard and real-time PCR machines, gel equipment (DNA, protein, western blot), a film developer (dark room), inverted microscopes (with camera), a standard light microscope (with camera), immunofluorescence microscope (with camera), an autoclave,  a Speedvac, a gel photo doc system and drier, a transilluminator, a 37oC bacterial incubator, a culture rotator, a plate reader (with UV, chemiluminescent and fluorescent capabilities), a cell counter, water baths, scales, chemical hood, an orbital floor shaker/incubator, and liquid nitrogen storage for cell lines. Experiments requiring BSL-3 environments can be performed at the Biodesign Institute of ASU.

With dedicated laboratories and medical personnel caring for patients, the medical center facilities at Sonoran provide the Institute with the resources for carrying out small clinical trials on-site.

As affiliated faculties and scientists of the Biodesign Institute at ASU, Sonoran University researchers have access to the 20+ core facilities at Arizona State University at reduced pricing. The facilities include the Mass Spectrometry Facility equipped with high-resolution mass spectrometers (Agilent 6530 Quadrupole TOF LC-MS) and GC-MS, and the Magnetic Resonance Center supporting analyses with highly sophisticated NMR instruments (Bruker Avance NEO 500 MHz NMR, Bruker Avance III HD 600 MHz NMR, Bruker Avance III HD 850 MHz NMR), which will be of high benefit for the proposed research. Other facilities include X-ray diffractometer and CD spectrometer.