Research centers and institutes

 More than 30 university-funded research institutes and centers give faculty and students the opportunity to:

  • shape public policy
  • provide research that impacts our environment and our communities
  • contribute to the economic development within our state

Amino Acid Geochronology Laboratory 
The AAGL is dedicated to estimating the ages of Quaternary (< 2 million years old) deposits by analyzing the extent of racemization of amino acids preserved within carbonate fossils. The lab uses both conventional ion-exchange and reverse-phase ion exchange liquid chromatographs for separating and detecting amino acids. The lab is supported in part as a shared facility by the National Science Foundation.

AzTrans: The Arizona Center for Applied Transportation Research  
Spearheading transportation research projects that implement alternative ways for municipalities to more efficiently measure traffic flow, utilizing the latest automated technology.

Center for Bioengineering Innovation (CBI)
The mission of the Center for Bioengineering Innovation is to build Northern Arizona University’s capacity to produce nationally recognized basic science discoveries in the area of bioengineering; to transform these discoveries into applications that improve lives and foster economic growth in Arizona and beyond; and to provide cutting-edge training in bioengineering research for undergraduates, graduate students, and post-doctoral scholars who will join the biotechnology workforce. By providing leadership, collaboration, mentoring and infrastructure, the Center will accelerate NAU’s progress toward these goals.

Center for Microbial Genetics & Genomics (MGGen)  
MGGen carries out research on dangerous pathogens, such as anthrax, plague and tularemia, which are important to biodefense and initiate new research efforts in environmental genetics and genomics as they relate to infectious diseases and ecosystem health.

Center for Applied Research and Environmental Endocrinology (CAREE)  
For more information, please call: 928-523-4979

Center for Ecosystem Science and Society (Ecoss)
The Center for Ecosystem Science and Society (Ecoss) at Northern Arizona University seeks to understand ecosystems and how and why they change. The vision of Ecoss is to understand ecosystem function and change from the cell to the globe and their implications for future Earth. 

Colorado Plateau Biodiversity Center 
The CPBC cares for more than 400,000 specimens in seven divisions of life sciences collections. These collections support research and education in:

  • ecology
  • evolution
  • conservation with special emphases in
    • paleontology
    • quaternary climate change
    • botany
    • entomology
    • marine invertebrates
    • fish
    • reptiles
    • amphibians
    • birds
    • mammals
    • fungi
    • DNA bioinformatics 

Colorado Plateau Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (CPCESU) 
The Colorado Plateau Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (CPCESU) is a cooperative network, transcending political and institutional boundaries, which creates innovative opportunities for research, education, and technical assistance in support of the management and stewardship by partner agencies of the Colorado Plateau's natural, cultural, and social resources.

Colorado Plateau Research Station (CPRS)  
The Colorado Plateau Research Station is a joint USGS and NAU biological research organization. Its mission is to provide high-quality, objective science to support sound management of natural resources, with a focus on Department of Interior lands. Major areas of research include:

  • ecoregional studies
  • climate change
  • endangered species
  • vegetation distribution
  • ecology and dynamics
  • data management and dissemination
  • inventory and monitoring studies
  • cave ecosystems
  • wildlife ecology

Ecological Restoration Institute (ERI)
The Ecological Restoration Institute works to help land management agencies and communities by providing comprehensive focused studies, monitoring and evaluation research, and technical support.

Electron Microscope Facility 
The Imaging and Histology Core Facility provides imaging services to faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, along with our industry partners. This is accomplished through excellence in education, research, mentoring, and technology.

Environmental Genetics & Genomics Facility (EnGGen)  
The Environmental Genetics and Genomics Facility is a multi-user research laboratory designed for diverse biological applications. This high-throughput laboratory is a regional resource center that supports molecular genetic analyses and training across a wide user base including regional academic, government and private institutions.

Imaging and Histology Core Facility 
The facility consists of:

  • a transmission electron microscope (JEOL 1200EX II)
  • a scanning electron microscope (LEO 425VP)
  • a McBain Instruments Confocal Microscope
  • numerous ancillary equipment for specimen fixation and preparation, including cryopreparations

Informatics and Computing Program (ICP)
The Informatics and Computing Program at Northern Arizona University is aimed at building interdisciplinary research capacity and future innovation in the intersection of computational science with engineering, the natural and social sciences, the arts, and business. 

Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP)  
ITEP was created to act as a catalyst among tribal governments, research and technical resources at the university various federal, state and local governments, and the private sector, in support of environmental protection of Native American natural resources.

Landscape Conservation Initiative (LCI)
The Landscape Conservation Initiative forges new solutions to environmental challenges through a three-pronged approach:  applied biological science, collaborative planning, and field-based educational experiences.

Merriam-Powell Center for Environmental Research (MPCER)  
The Center promotes interdisciplinary, environmental research centered on the Colorado Plateau. We foster collaborations among scientists, land-managers, and educators from public and private sectors to:

  • Understand the basic ecological principles and major environmental factors, including human influences that impact ecosystems throughout the globe
  • Apply scientific knowledge for the development of effective strategies that will maintain intact ecosystems and restore degraded and altered environments


National Institute for Climate Change Research (NICCR)  
The Western Regional Center of the National Institute for Climatic Change Research (NICCR) is one of four regional Centers sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Biological and Environmental Research. The WRC/NICCR facilitates climatic change research in the western United States through the periodic solicitation of proposals for research projects to be funded by DOE.

Native American Cancer Research Partnership  
The partnership’s premise is that a sustainable solution to cancer disparities among Native Americans must be rooted in the communities.

Sedimentary Records of EnvironmentalChange Laboratory 
The laboratory analyzes physical, biological and isotopic properties of sediment to interpret past environmental and climate changes.  The laboratory specializes in analyzing sedimentary biogenic-silica content, particle-size distribution, and magnetic susceptibility. Laboratory personnel have expertise in taxonomic identifications of freshwater ostracodes.

Teaching and Research Machine Shop
With more than 3,000 projects completed in 20 years, the CEFNS Teaching & Research Machine Shop is the place to bring your ideas for research, lab, or field-oriented equipment fabrication. The shop provides design consultation and fabrication using a variety of materials and machining services, including milling, grinding, welding, lathe work, and cutting of all types of materials. Materials include wood, plastics, steel, stainless steel, aluminum, and brass. 

Wireless Networks Research Laboratory 
The Wireless Laboratory is involved in research on human-cyber-physical systems with a focus on wireless sensor networks for environmental and ecosystems monitoring.