The Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology maintains a series of common equipment rooms throughout the Peterson Building, thereby allowing graduate students and faculty access to a wide range of state-of-the-art equipment and facilities. Examples include CHEF gene-mapping systems, PCR thermal cyclers, high speed and ultracentrifuges, cold rooms, darkrooms, and photographic facilities, high resolution light microscopes with both video and still camera capabilities, and various analytical instruments. The department also houses the Texas Plant Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, now located on West Campus in the Centeq building, which is a service facility for diagnosis of plant diseases and represents one of the largest, most sophisticated academic facilities of its type in the country.
Research and Extension Centers
The Texas Agricultural Experiment Station (TAES) operates 13 centers for research and extension located throughout the state, encompassing the wide range of agricultural ecosystems that characterize Texas agriculture. The purpose of these centers is to address the current needs of Texas agriculture as well as to conduct research on regionally important commodities. Through interaction with scientists at these centers, graduate students are able to become directly involved in the changing face of Texas agriculture.
TAES maintains an experimental farm for faculty and staff who need to conduct field experiments. The 3,000 acre farm is located 12 miles west of campus, and includes centralized farm and plot equipment, an aquaculture site, irrigation sources, and related support buildings.
Controlled Environment Facilities and Greenhouses
For those who require access to controlled environment facilities, the department maintains several self-contained, fully automated, reach-in and walk-in growth chambers that are capable of reproducing a wide range of climatic conditions. The department also maintains its own greenhouse facilities and has access to the more extensive university-maintained greenhouse system, including more than 14,000 square feet of self-contained greenhouses for work with transgenic plants.
A major university library is absolutely essential to academic work. The Sterling C. Evans Library offers access to more than 1.9 million volumes, including all major scientific periodicals. Within the library, the Learning Resource Department has more than 150 microcomputers for faculty and student use, and computers are available for rapid searches of the literature. The Medical Sciences Library primarily serves the Colleges of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, but it is also available for use by students and faculty in COALS as well. This collection numbers more than 100,000 volumes and includes subscriptions to about 2,000 periodicals. Both the Medical Sciences Library and the Evans Library use modern electronic data transmission to obtain materials that are not locally owned, and students have access to all other major university libraries through interlibrary loan agreements.
Modern scholarship has been revolutionized in recent years with its utilization of computing resources. Texas A&M is at the forefront of the computer age with a Computing and Information Services (CIS) that is one of the most sophisticated computer facilities of any educational institution in the country. CIS is connected with departmental computing resources on a campus-wide fiber-optic network. The Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology also maintains its own computer network, supporting Apple, IBM and Unix computers. This network allows direct communication with other researchers in the same department, outside the department, on-campus, and world-wide. A departmental computing facility includes Apple and IBM compatible machines, slide maker and slide scanner, flatbed scanners, and laser printers distributed throughout the Peterson Building.
Microscopes for a wide range of light microscopy are available within the department and offer the capacity for both still and video photography. For more sophisticated needs, the university’s Microscopy and Imaging Center offers access to instrumentation for both electron microscopy and light microscopy, including laser scanning confocal instrumentation.
The university maintains other facilities that are essential to meet the needs of an academic research institution. The Office of Photographic Services and the Office of Biomedical Communications offer a wide range of photographic services. Biotechnology support laboratories offer services such as protein purification and sequencing, peptide synthesis, DNA sequencing, and oligonucleotide synthesis.