Biological Nanostructures Laboratory

The BNL provides access to complex, high value instrumentation to support and enhance interdisciplinary research at the interface of life science and engineering, and scientific expertise in the theory, operation, and analysis of data generated from such instruments.

A variety of analytical instruments for molecular biology.
Biohazardous waste decontamination and disposal services to research labs.
Cell culturing tools, protocols, and services.
Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) library prep and sequencing resources.

 Take advantage of our Autoclave Pick-Up Service!

We will pick up your biohazardous waste at your lab location. We take care of the sterilizing and disposal, all you need to do is fill out the request form.

 Research Services Available*

  • Library preparation for Next Generation Sequencing
  • Cell culture handling and experiment design

*Costs will be determined on a project-by-project basis to cover material, labor, and instrument time. Please contact us for an estimate.

 How-to Information

Steps to Access the BNL
  1. Contact BNL staff to get trained on the instrument.
  2. Apply to CNSI for electronic door access to the facility.
  3. BNL Staff will add you to the FBS reservation system
Acknowledging Support

Please remember to acknowledge CNSI resources in scientific publications and presentations by including this statement:

“The authors acknowledge the use of the Biological Nanostructures Laboratory within the California NanoSystems Institute, supported by the University of California, Santa Barbara and the University of California, Office of the President.”


The Qubit 2.0 fluorometer allows the quantitation of DNA, RNA, and protein using the highly sensitive and accurate fluorescence-based Qubit quantitation assays. Assays are specific for the nucleic acid measured, eg. ssDNA, dsDNA, or RNA.
Automated fluorescence cell sorter with 4 lasers and 12 fluorescence settings.
690 L Steam Sterilizer for decontamination of biohazard waste.
The Tomy ES-315 is a 50L sterilizer that is used to autoclave glass and plasticware and media for cell/bacterial culture.
The BluePippin allows researchers to easily size select and collect from a mixture of DNA fragment sizes and genomic DNA.
Desktop sequencing system for analyzing whole genomes, exomes, and transcriptomes
The Covaris M220 mechanically shears DNA for Next Generation Sequencing applications requiring fragment sizes between 150bp and 5kb.
The Biomek 4000 Automated Workstation is an liquid handler for robotic pipetting of 1-1000 ul.
The CFX96 Touch System is a high precision, flexible Real-Time quantitative PCR system. The CFX96 Touch combines advanced optical technology with precise temperature control, for a fast and sensitive detection system for singleplex and multiplex reactions.
The TapeStation is a fast and simple method for nucleic acid analysis. Genomic DNA, RNA and prepped dsDNA libraries can be analyzed with the instrument to obtain size distribution and concentration.
Precise and sensitive digital PCR for a wide variety of applications.
The MiSeq desktop sequencing system allows access to focused applications such as metagenomics, targeted gene expression, and small genone sequencing, and more. Multiple output kits are available for up to 15 Gb of sequencing and 2 x 300 bp read lengths.
Multimode plate reader for fluorescence, absorbance, and luminescence measurements.
The Tecan M200 plate reader is able to read fluorescence, luminescence and absorbance readings from standard size plates with any well configuration. The system is monochromatic so any excitation/emission or absorbance wavelengths can be used. Protocols can be customized using a simple drag-and-drop scripting interface.
Measures size distribution and concentration of particles suspended in solution using nanoparticle tracking analysis.
The Zetasizer Nano ZS is an instrument that measures size, molecular weight, and zeta potential of small particles suspended in solution using dynamic light scattering (DLS), static light scattering (SLS), and electrophoretic mobility, respectively.
The BIACore 3000 allows researchers to perform label-free binding and/or kinetic experiments on biomolecules using surface plasmon resonance.
The Prelude X is a fully automated peptide synthesizer capable of generating a variety of peptides, peptoids, and peptidomimetics.
The UV-Vis 1800 is a highly precise spectrophotometer, capable of absorbance measurements with a resolution of only 1 nm. It has multiple modules, including photometric, spectrum, and kinetics modes.
Additional molecular biology and biochemistry tools available for use for a daily recharge rate.