The Center for Applied Isotope Studies at the University of Georgia is already world-renowned, but the center's role in the scientific community just became even bigger.
Following an expansion of the facility on Riverbend Road and acquisition of new instrumentation, the 24,000-square-foot center is now home to the largest stable isotope lab in North America, surpassing the University of California, Davis, and cementing its position as an industry leader.
Stable isotope analysis, which is the focus of the latest lab expansion, is the measurement of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, deuterium and sulfur isotopic signatures in environmental and biological samples. It can be used to track everything from animal migration patterns and ocean temperatures to helping reconstruct ecosystems, monitoring pollution or testing products.
"We're rebuilding and reimagining this center into something that I believe is truly phenomenal — as a whole, there's no place like this in the entire United States," said Jeff Speakman, director of CAIS. "Many smaller labs struggle because they are not able to reinvest in the latest and greatest technology, so being able to continue to invest into new instrumentation is key to staying ahead of the game."
The center, which operates under the Office of Research, was founded in 1968 and is home to one of the oldest radiocarbon and stable isotope laboratories in the world. Today 12 full-time scientists and 13 technical staff provide analytical services, conduct research and engage in teaching students from a variety of disciplines.