Annette Summers Engel
Jones Professor of Aqueous Geochemistry
University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
Engel Lab Analytical Facilities
Lab instruments and facility use
The Engel lab moved in May 2017 to the Strong Hall building on the UT main campus. This is a new building occupied by the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.


Equipment use is available for faculty, staff, and students who have training to operate the specific instruments and associated software for their research needs. Several of the instruments have separate online sign-up sheets to manage use and equipment maintenance, and to log hours. Contact Dr. Engel for more information.
  1. Gases
    This SRI 8610C gas chromatograph measures gases. This instrument uses hydrogen (produced from a hydrogen generator) and helium, and everything can be taken into the field for in situ measurements.
  2. Ion chromatography
    Ion chromatography
    This Dionex ICS-2000 can analyze anions and cations separately using eluent generators. One autosampler supports both ion chromatographs.
  3. Spectroscopy
    A range of spectometers are available, including a Nanodrop 1000 spectrometer, Thermo UV-Vis spectrometer, and a Horiba Jovan Fluoromax 4 spectrofluorimeter.
  4. GC-MS
    This Agilent GC-MS (gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer) instrument analyzes organic compounds in solvents, including hydrocarbon compounds.
  1. FTIR spectroscopy
    FTIR spectroscopy
    This Agilent Cary 600-series Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometer has several attachments for diffuse reflectance (for DRIFT analyses), attenuated total reflectance (ATR), and a microscope with focal plane array for chemical imaging.
  2. FTIR microscopy
    FTIR microscopy
    FTIR chemical imaging can be done with this microscope attached to the Agilent Cary 600-series FTIR.
  3. Thermal cyclers
    Thermal cyclers
    Used for polymerase chain reaction (PCR), there are two Bio-Rad C1000 thermal cyclers for experiments, and another C1000 Bio-rad thermal cycler converted to a 6-channel real-time PCR system with a CFX96 optical reaction module.
  4. Gel electrophoresis
    Gel electrophoresis
    Various instruments are available for gel electrophoresis for nucleic acids and protein visualization and purification.
  1. Bio Safety Cabinet
    Bio Safety Cabinet
    The BSC is an enclosed, ventilated workspace for safely handling sediments, water, etc. We operate under BSL-1 conditions, but can function at BSL-2 because of basic and advanced training, limited access to labs, and other practices.
  2. Misc. instruments
    Misc. instruments
    Other instruments are housed in the Engel lab, including an ice machine, large and small format centrifuges, pH meters, shakers, hot and stir plates, balances, pipettes, drying ovens, muffle furnaces, and grain size sieves and automated shaker.
  3. Field equipment
    Field equipment
    Various meters and multi-meter systems, as well as field spectrophotometer, are available for geochemical analyses in the field. Also available are piezometers and soil and sediment coring devices.
  4. Caving & field gear
    Caving & field gear
    For field work, the Engel lab has robust sampling gear, including packs, dry bags, caving helmets, and lights. We also have many coolers, field sampling equipment, like peristaltic pumps, tubing, a generator, and other items that can go into the field.
History of the lab facilities (through May 2017)
After I arrived at UTK in 2011, EPS found out that we would move into Strong Hall (we should move into the new space in 2017). So, I was encouraged to put minimal funding into renovations, but we still needed efficient, modern geochemistry and molecular biology research space. Renovations included putting a door between the two labs, removing walls, patching and painting, removing equipment and establishing a new DI water  line and sink, designing and installing lab benches and storage cabinetry, rewiring electricity and lighting, putting in a new floor, and acquiring and organizing supplies and equipment. 
Renovations were completed within ~18-20 months, although we still seem to be in a constant state of flux as we adjust space for new students, project needs (like getting new freezers), and install new equipment. The lab has diverse geochemical, molecular genetics and culturing equipment, as well as all of the field equipment needed for research and teaching. 
These are 'before' pictures in 2011. A door was put in to connect two different lab spaces.
These are 'more before' pictures in 2011 and 2012. We have since had a new floor put down throughout most of the space in 2015.
Geochemistry. Geomicrobiology. Geology. Ecology.

Interdisciplinary Research at the University of Tennessee