Facilities and Gardens

The primary mission of the facility is in line with the NSF grant and Chicago State University mission with the major goal of supporting research, teaching, curriculum improvement, and professional development in the Department of Biological Sciences at Chicago State University. The FACS system allows the users to identify and sort subpopulations of cells based on natural or experimentally introduced parameters that include cell-surface molecules, genetic content, and general cell shape and size. Supplementary microscopy is also available in the director's lab and in the Department of Biological sciences.

Facility goals

  1. To undertake the four grant projects proposed for the NSF grant award which entails performing the necessary sorting of mammalian gut mucosa and immune cells (Drs Walid Al-Ghoul and Kevin Swier) protozoa (Dr Andrew Maselli), and plant protoplasts (Dr Devi Poturi) for the purpose of determining cellular mechanisms associated with the intestinal mucosa barrier, host-pathogen interactions, cell vesicle traffic, and environmental conservation and crop improvement.
  2. To disseminate the research findings and knowledge using the flow cytometry facility by faculty and their students, thus assuring that the acquisition of a FACSaria instrument will have a major impact on the research exploration and training environment at Chicago State University, bringing it to a level that is more compatible with current standards in research and training.
  3. To enhance Chicago State University's infrastructure needed for teaching, curriculum improvement, and professional development. Thus, the facility is expected to play a central role in expanding inquiry-based learning, fostering student collaborations, and providing valuable hands-on experience with advanced technology. This is certain to advance the level and quality of instruction in courses taught or designed by the PI and co-PI's which span the fields of cell biology, parasitology, immunology, physiology, pathology, botany, and microbiology.
  4. To design hands-on workshops and training grants that are also expected to benefit from the FACS system.
  5. To support Chicago State University mission, and its growing number of programs aimed at enhancing underrepresented minority participation in basic science research and channeling B.Sc. and M.Sc. graduates into professional degree-granting institutions. These programs include the NIH minority biomedical research support (MBRS) and the NSF alliance for minority participation (AMP) supported research training.
  6. Ultimately, the FACS facility is expected to contribute to improved recruitment and empowerment of minority students through academic and research training that incorporates up-to-date scientific and biomedical technology. This, in turn, will contribute to increased diversity in the American landscape of skilled professionals.

Sources of Support

This facility was made possible by a generous grant from the National Science Foundation entitled: "Acquisition Of A Fluorescence-Activated Cell Sorter To Support Research And Research Training at Chicago State University, A Minority Serving, Undergraduate Institution". In addition to this grant award with Dr Walid Al-Ghoul as the principal investigator, the space, infrastructures and ongoing funding to run the facility is provided by the university administration with strong support from the then University President, Elnora Daniel, the Dean of College of Arts and Sciences, Rachel Lindsey, and Chairman of the Department of Biological Sciences, Dr Floyd Banks. Other supply and maintenance funds come from director and major user grants as well as user fees.

For all Chicago State University members the De Novo Software Partner Program is offering a 10% discount off on FCS Express Software. Please contact the Flow Cytometry facility for details on how to receive the discount.

The Facs facility is supported by an NSF grant.

HerbariumThe Herbarium in the Department of Biological Sciences at Chicago State University was founded in 1989 by James R. Rastorfer, where it serves as a teaching and research facility for students, faculty, and the university community.

Our collection has specimens of lichens, bryophytes and vascular plants. However, the largest group of plants represented in the collection are the flowering plants. Particularly noteworthy in our collection of flowering plants are specimens from the south side of Chicago and voucher specimens for collaborative land reclamation studies with investigators at Argonne National Laboratory.

Contact information

Department of Biological Sciences / SCI 310 
Chicago State University
9501 S. King Drive, Chicago, IL 60628
(773) 995-2183 voice
(773) 995-3759 fax

Email jgana@csu.edu

Mission Statement


The Mission of the Chicago State University Central Microscopy Facility is to provide the student researchers and faculty members with Teaching / Training, Access, Technical Support and Service for a broad range of microscopy techniques.

Teaching / Training

The facility is used to teach Biology 4450 and 5450, Techniques in Electron Microscopy, every other year. Further exposure to EM techniques in the form of workshops is offered in the summer to students participating in several NIH funded summer programs. During the academic year, the electron microscope is also available to the biology and chemistry departments to support classroom activities. In years when the formal course is not offered, individual training is available to assist students in integrating microscopy techniques into their projects.


The goal of the facility is the provide access to advance imaging instrumentation to the CSU research community in an environment that fosters innovation and creativity. A key part of this mission is to offer exposure to advance imaging technology to the broadest cross section of students interested in STEM fields.

Technical Support

The microscopy facility aims to support faculty and student driven research in areas of biology, chemistry, and physics by providing expertise in planning experiments, collecting images and preparing images for publication. The facility also provides a limited amount of hands-on support for faculty research projects.


Microscopy education is another key part of the facility's mission. The facility provides year round tours to prospective students from various Chicago land high schools, introductory biology classes, and community groups. The facility is committed to seeking opportunities to support faculty based community outreach and education efforts.

Facility Instruments

EM Microscopes

  • JEOL JEM 1200EX Transmission Electron Microscope
    Transmission electron microscopy allows high resolution imaging of thin sections of biological material and negatively stained small particles. Electron diffraction of crystalline samples can give information about the spacing of the atoms in the sample's crystalline lattice. Images from this instrument are captured with a high resolution digital camera.
    The purchase of high resolution camera was funded by a Major Instrumentation Grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
  • JEOL JSM 6610LV Scanning Electron Microscope
    SEM allows the observation of the surface details of a sample. This gives a magnification range of 5x to 300,000x . This microscope is equipped with four detectors that provide images of the surface topography of a sample and its elemental composition.
    The design includes a low vacuum setting for samples that have excessive water content or a non-conductive surface and cannot be viewed at high vacuum. This microscope is equipped with a cold stage, which further extends its ability to look at hydrated (wet) samples.

Light Microscopes

  • Zeiss Axiovert 25 inverted Fluorescence Microscope with a Retiga CCD camera
    The newest addition to the central facility is a Zeiss Axiovert 25 inverted fluorescence light microscope with a cooled CCD digital camera and computer for image analysis. This is a very flexible system that allows users to examine a wide range of samples including live cells. The system also allows users to make time lapse movies.
  • Zeiss Axioscope 20

Supportive Equipment

  • CR-X Cryosectioning System
  • Epson 4990 Photo flatbed scanner and basic digital darkroom
  • Image analysis software
  • Classic wet darkroom facility
  • various preparatory equipment for SEM
  • Sputter Coater

Courses Offered at the Facility

Bio 4450 Techniques in Electron Microscopy Lecture AND Laboratory
Instrument and specimen preparation theory for both transmission TEM) and scanning (SEM) electron microscopy. Preparation of specimens (ultramicrotomy, critical point drying, negative staining) for examination in both TEM and SEM. Basic dark room and digital image presentation. Substantial work outside of class time is required. Credit will not be given for 4450 and 5450.

Bio 5450 Techniques in Electron Microscopy Lecture AND Laboratory
Instrument and specimen preparation theory for both transmission TEM) and scanning (SEM) electron microscopy. Preparation of specimens (ultramicrotomy, critical point drying, negative staining, X-ray analysis) for examination in both TEM and SEM. Fundamentals of X-ray microanalysis and basic dark room and digital image presentation. Substantial work outside of class time is required. Credit will not be given for 5450 and 4450. 

If you are interested in taking a class please contact Dr. Maselli for details on the next available section. (773) 995-3298

Publications & Presentations


  • Reyes JF, Stone K, Ramos J, Maselli A. (2009) "Formation of Hirano bodies after inducible expression of a modified form of an actin-cross-linking protein." Eukaryot Cell 8:852-7.
  • The Ultrastructure Of The Parasitophorous Vacuole Formed by Leishmania Major. Castro, R., Scott, K., Jordan, T., Evans, B., Craig, J., Peters, E. L., Swier, K. (2006). Journal of Parasitology.


  • Synthesis and characterization of a copper based dye sensitized solar cell. Moore, Q. L.; Mardis, K. L.; LeSuer, R. J. National American Chemical Society meeting, San Francisco, 2010.
  • Investigating the impact of titanium dioxide slurry preparation on the performance of dye sensitized solar cells. Timmons, A.; LeSuer, R. J. National American Chemical Society meeting, San Francisco, 2010.
  • Towards understanding electron transfer processes in dye sensitized solar cells. LeSuer, R. J. Center for Alternative Energy and Technology Symposium, Chicago, 2009.
  • Patrick, D., Maselli, A. Cells Expressing a Predicted Caspase I Cleavage Product of T-plastin Produce Actin Inclusions, The American Society of Cell Biology 48th annual meeting. 2008 (Presented by A. Maselli).
  • Maselli, A., Ramos, J., Patrick, D. Hwang, R., Knecht, D. (2008). Comparison of the Properties of Actin Aggregates Induced by Fragments of Different Actin Binding Proteins. International Dictyostelium Conference, Tsukuba-Shi, Japan.
  • Ramos, J., M. Myrthil, K. Stone, A, Maselli, Comparison of Hirano Body Fromation by an F-Actin Stabilizing Drug and A Truncated Acting Bundling Protein. Illinois State Academy of Sciences Annual Meeting 2007.
  • J. Ramos, A. Maselli (2006). Exploring Drug Stabilized F-actin as a Live Cell Model for Hirano Body Formation. The American Society of Cell Biology 46th annual meeting.
  • The Formation of GFP-Tagged Hirano Bodies in Dictyostelium discoideum After Inducible Expression of a Truncated Actin Bundling Protein. J. F. Reyes, A. G. Maselli. The American Society of Cell Biology 45th annual meeting. 2006
  • Dictyostelium cells with GFP tagged Hirano bodies grow more slowely than wild type. M. Myrthil, J. F. Reyes, and A. Maselli. Chicago State University. Illinois State Academy of Science Annual Meeting. 2006
  • Promoter inducible response of RootCAR1, a cold acclimation response gene in alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) using protoplast transient assays. Singa P, Gana JA Midwest American Society of Plant Biologists Sectional Meeting. March 18-19. St. Louis, MO *. 2005
  • Comparison of amyloplast structure and numbers in mature intact and defoliated alfalfa plants (Medicago sativa L.) by transmission electron microscopy. Yosimbom E, Gana JA Midwest American Society of Plant Biologists Sectional Meeting. March 18-19. St. Louis, MO* 2005
  • Isolation of a new class of Vancomycin Resistent Enterococci from Raw Minced Pork. Park, G.B., Sinja, R. American Society of Microbiologists. Atlanta GA. 2005
  • Correlation between internal structure and macromolecule accumulation in two cultivars of sweet potato under salt stress. Weathington, T.O., Marshal, A.K., Potluri, V. Illinois Student Research Conference. Charleston IL. 2006.

 Contact Information

Dr. Andrew MaselliAndrew G. Maselli

Facility Director
Department of Biological Sciences
Chicago State University
9501 S. King Drive/ SCI 310
Chicago, IL 60628
(773) 995-3298 voice
(773) 995-3759 fax

Chicago State University is part of a wider community dedicated to helping preserve one of North America’s most imperiled ecosystems, the Tallgrass Prairie. A prairie is a landscape dominated by grasses, yet contains numerous flowering plants. In 1820, Illinois contained 22 million acres of prairie along with 14 million acres of forest, leading to the state nickname of “The Prairie State.”  However, by the early 1900’s, most prairies had been plowed for agriculture and were destroyed.  In Illinois today, there is less than 2,500 acres remaining, or 0.01% of the original prairie landscape. 

Did you know that the world grasslands, including the North American prairie, are the most endangered ecosystem in the world?  In the United States and Canada, 99% of the prairie is gone.  The remaining original prairie, called remnants, exists in small pockets, and are often under a few acres in size, leading to the loss of plant, animal and insect species. 

Today, Chicago State University is helping reverse this trend by planting native prairie plants in its 3.5-acre prairie garden and bird habitat.  The over 80 native grasses, flowering plants, trees and shrubs provide the habitat needed for native butterflies (including monarchs) and birds. These plants also help the community by removing pollutants from the air and by utilizing their deep root systems, flooding is reduced because native plants absorb more water than turf grass. 

History of the Prairie Garden

In 2003, Dr. Timothy Bell received an Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) grant to install the prairie garden on campus.  Dr. Potluri obtained a second IDNR grant and appointed a volunteer coordinator Ms. Kelly Borger who entered the prairie garden in the citywide competition. Since this time, through the help of volunteers, students and additional grants, a bird habitat was created, a compost station for weeds was installed, as were bat and bluebird houses.  Volunteers work to maintain the path system, remove weedy plants that do not belong in the prairie, collect seeds, grow native plants in the greenhouse and plant them in the prairie.  Students have also conducted research on the soil, plants, and insects that are using the prairie. 

Grants and Partners

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Illinois Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Urban Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics Talent Expansion Program (USTEP)

Contact Information

Department of Biological Sciences

Phone 771-995-2183