Clark Atlanta University Learn Lead Change

Research Centers/ Core Facilities

Division of Research and Sponsored Programs
1001 Cole Research Center for Science and Technology
Telephone: (404) 880-6990 
Fax: (404) 880-6983

Thomas W. Cole, Jr.  Research Center for Science and Technology

CAU has established a Research Center for Science and Technology to facilitate interdisciplinary and collaborative research between the University and national and federal laboratories, other universities, and industry, including small and minority high technology companies. The Research Center has approximately 200,000 sq. ft. of state of the art laboratories including a high-bay facility, office and conference space, and facilities in the main building and annex to facilitate interdisciplinary research in a variety of areas.  These areas include: 

  • Cancer Research-Center for Cancer Research and Therapeutic Development (CCRTD)
  • Nanotechnology-Center for Functional Nanoscale Materials (CFNM)
  • Synthesis and Characterization of Polymers, Composites, Electronic Materials, and Small Organic Molecules
  •  Biomedical and Biomolecular Research
  • Materials for Water Treatment and Other Processes
  • Nuclear and Atomic Physics
  • Simulation and Modeling/Computational Science
  • Cybersecurity and Information Assurance
  • Alternative Energy and Energy Conservation
  • Environmental Justice and Environmental Science 



The Research Center has enhanced CAU's role in the Georgia Research Alliance (GRA), a research and technology transfer consortium that includes CAU, Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University, the Medical College of Georgia, and the University of Georgia. The GRA promotes cooperative R&D and technology transfer projects with private industry and increases awareness of the technological capabilities in Georgia, especially in the environmental, materials, information, telecommunications and biomedical technologies. In addition, CAU has active collaborations with other academic institutions and federal labs such as University of Illinois, Cornell University, Mercer University, Georgia Tech, and Oak Ridge National Labs.


Core Equipment and Facilities
Critical to the success of any research endeavor is the availability of state of the art instrumentation. The following major core equipment and instrumentation are located in the Research Center.

SOLiD 3 Plus System Next Generation DNA Sequencer
The SOLiD 3 Plus System Next Generation DNA Sequencer is used in genetic analysis.  It sequentially interprets gigabases of genetic data with ultra-high throughput and superior accuracy.  The sequencer is used by scientists in CAU’s Center for Cancer Research and Therapeutic Development (CCRTD) to analyze genomes of normal cells in comparison to genomes of cancerous cells; and to study genetic differences amongst these two cell groups.  These differences may later be used to develop therapeutic targets to help prevent or cure cancer.  

Leica Laser Microdisection Microscope
This instrument is used by CCRTD scientists to cut sections of cells from an area of tissue on a microscopic level with a laser. It can be used to cut down to a single cell from a tissue. This is useful to collect various cell populations from one type of tissue.

Zeiss Axio Imager Z1 Microscope with Apotome
The Zeiss Axio Imager Z1 Microscope with Apotome is an upright fluorescent microscope which has the capability to image fluorescent images with superb quality and resolution. The system is able to pick up true color from fluorescently labeled images and separate these colors with very distinct accuracy by eliminating light from other focal planes. The microscope provides intricate details of images along with brilliant contrast.  

BioRad I Cycler Real Time PCR System
This instrument is used to amplify or replicate DNA or RNA in-vitro.  With this instrument, scientists have the ability to perform a quantitative analysis of DNA to compare expression of two or more genes.  This provides the ability to study which genes may be turned on or how well they are expressed in certain cell types, at certain cell stages of growth and proliferation, or when cells are exposed to a specific environment or stimuli. 

Accuri C6 Flow Cytometer
The flow cytometer is used to count or detected certain populations of cells suspended in a flow of fluid passing through and electronic detection device.  It is can be used to examine multiple parameters of thousands of cells per second. Scientist use it to study cell populations based upon both chemical and physical properties.      

Hitachi S-800 SEM
The S-800 is an ultra-high resolution scanning electron microscope used to image surface topography, particle size, dimensional metrics and particle distribution of nanocomposites, nanofibers, and the surfaces and interfaces of epitaxially grown semiconductors.

PHI 15-255  PES
The PHI 15-255G is a photoelectron spectroscopic analyzer (XPS, ESCA, UPS and Auger spectroscopy) that is used to study the electronic and chemical states at the surface of solid materials. At CAU, this instrumentation provides information such as chemical identification, chemical bond strength, strain effects on electronic structure, electronic effects of absorbates, the interfacial migration of constituent materials, surface reaction kinetics and valence band offsets.

Philips X’Pert XRD
At CAU, this high speed X-ray diffractometer finds its utility in the high quality phase identification and quantification of polycrystalline materials. The software allows for phase identification and quantitative analysis using calibration-line based and semi-quantitative methods.

Supercomputers (Physics)
For research, we use the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) facility at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, which is supported by the U.S. DOE.  Also, we use the Queen’s University of Belfast, UK supercomputers for collaborative research.   

The modeling of the DOE and AFOSR funded research problems (atomic collisions, scattering, photoionization, etc.) is data intensive and requires the manipulation of large matrices; these tasks are generally not only memory-intensive requiring a large memory footprint (of the order of a few GBs) but also I/O intensive calling for large data movements between serial jobs which can take from a few hours to a few days. Some stages of the R-matrix package, our primary tool of computation, require a large memory when relativistic operators are needed to describe the problems, particularly for complex atomic systems and complicated interactions. The largest case we have run successfully used about 120 GB. 

Autonomous Mobile Robotics Lab
This laboratory houses 20 Robots type Pioneer 2DX from Mobile Robots, Inc. They are equipped with on-board LINUX PC, WiFi bridge, 16 element sonar-sensor array. Other equipment include 10 on-board vision systems with PTZ cameras, 10 SICK Laser Range Finders, 12-degrees of freedom (DOF) Gripper, and 16-DOF robotics arms (available to be attached to any of the robots). The robotics lab is used for research in decentralized sensor fusion, cooperative behavior, and self-organized teaming of robots.  

Simulation Cluster
The Simulation Cluster consists of a head node with dual hex-core CPUs and 12 nodes, configured with dual quad-core CPUs, 24GB shared CPU memory and two nVidia Tesla 2050 General Purpose Graphics Processor Units (GPGPUs). The entire system has 108 CPU Cores, 336GByte CPU-RAM, 24 GPGPUs and 72GByte GPU-RAM. The system computes over 10 Teraflops.  The hybrid architecture allows researchers to develop and run complex multi-agent simulations. The graphics processors significantly accelerate the computation of particle interactions, fluid-dynamics and other dynamics systems that are used to model the physical domain of the agents, while conventional CPUs have to be used to compute the reasoning in the conceptual domain.

Perkin Elmer DRC-e ICP/MS
The DRC-e ICP-mass spectrometer is used for trace metal analysis in solution and supports routine and research activities at CAU. DRC technology minimizes polyatomic interferences resulting in lower sensitivity loss in the system. Lower detection limits are achieved for traditionally difficult elements, e.g., Ca, Fe, K, and As. 

Veeco Nanoscope CP11 AFM
At CAU, the atomic force microscope is used for (a) dimensional determination of nanostructures and (b) manipulation of nano structures using atomic tip.  

Bruker Avance 500-Mhz NMR
This instrument has both solution and solid capabilities. Researchers at CAU find the state-of-the-art NMR ideal for structural determination of macromolecules and small organic molecules. Capabilities include 2-D multinuclear studies.  

Bruker Avance 400-Mhz NMR (see Bruker Avance 500-Mhz NMR)  

Hewlett Packard 6890/5973 GC/MS
This gas chromatography/mass spectrometry system is used for trace level analysis (qualitative and quantitative) of volatile and semi-volatile organics. Sub-ppt level sensitivity, as well as “selectivity and library-searchable capability” makes this GC/MS ideally suited for our research laboratories. Our purge-and-trap (P&T) addition provides the additional capability of analysis from aqueous solutions.  

TA GR-2 Rheometer
Found in the Polymer Processing and Rheology Laboratory at CAU, this instrument allows researchers to determine the viscoelastic properties of polymeric materials as it relates to molecular structure, processibility, physical properties and end of use performance. Additionally, it provides training for students and technicians in polymer characterization and processing of experimental and commercial products.
HAAKE Rheocord 90 Polymer Melt Processing Equipment
This unit is capable of simulating commercial scale processing equipment while providing capabilities to (1) study fundamental properties of materials, (2) characterize behavior, and (3) discover new ways to analyze, process and use new materials.  

Resin Transfer Molding and Vacuum Assisted Resin Transfer Molding Equipment
Axial and Axial-torsion Servohydraulic Test Frames and Elevated Temperature Creep Frames  

Ultrasonic NDI Equipment and Environmental Chambers
Used to perform ultrasonic non-destructive inspection and environmental testing of various polymers and composites.  

Bruker ALPHA-P FT-IR Spectrometer
With respect to infrared analysis of liquid and solid samples, this FT-IR spectrometer supports routine and basic and research activities. Its ATR accessory allows faster sampling, improved reproducibility and less (user-to-user) spectral variability.  

Bruker SENTERRA Raman Microscope Spectrometer
This instrument is used for bulk sample analysis to obtain full range Raman spectra. The SENTERRA integrates a multi-laser Raman spectrometer and a microscope in one compact unit. This design provides a short beam path, which increases instrument sensitivity and stability.  

The thermo mechanical analyzer is used by polymer scientists at CAU to obtain (a) Tg, (b) softening point, (c) thermal expansion coefficient, and (d) cure kinetics, of materials.  

CAHN TG-151 Micro Balance
This balance is used in high pressure adsorption, desorption and thermal decomposition reactions. A critical part of these studies includes the pathways and intermediate products involved.   

Research Centers  
There are several research centers, clusters and initiatives based at Clark Atlanta University that offer excellent opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to be engaged in research and sponsored programs activity as well as opportunities for others to collaborate with our faculty. Some are highlighted below.  

The Center for Functional Nanoscale Materials (CFNM)
The Center for Functional Nanoscale Materials (CFNM) was established at CAU on November 1, 2006. The programs and activities of the Center are designed to meet the dual goals of advancing human understanding in the area of nanoscale materials and of increasing the capacity of Clark Atlanta University to train talented scientists in the physical sciences. The Center, though residing at Clark Atlanta University, is multi-institutional and brings into a mutually beneficial and cooperative relationship two-year and four-year colleges, research universities and the K-12 community. Furthermore, the Center brings together researchers and educators from different disciplines with demonstrated and complementary strengths in quality research and training students. In establishing the Center, several important tasks are:

  • To conduct beneficial and innovative research with the objective of realizing the potential of nanotechnology for the benefit of the Nation and all humanity.
  • To increase the number of students pursuing graduate and undergraduate degrees in the natural and physical sciences by increasing the number of students, in the precollege and two-year college pipeline, who will pursue degrees in the natural and physical sciences.
  • To enhance the productivity of participating researchers by a program of infrastructure enrichment.

Included among the Center's expanding list of institutional partners are the Atlanta area school systems, Cornell University, Emory University, Perimeter College and iThemba Labs in South Africa.

The Center for Cancer Research and Therapeutic Development (CCRTD)
The Center for Cancer Research and Therapeutic Development (CCRTD) was developed as a vehicle of communication and collaboration for scientists at CAU who are interested in any aspect of cancer research. The CCRTD is one of the nation’s leading prostate cancer research centers. The CCRTD is currently supported by the Research Center in Minority Institutions (RCMI) program of the National Center for Research Resources at the National Institutes of Health along with several other grants from NIH and DOD.

The biomedical research projects range from studies on signal transduction mechanisms to the development of better drug delivery systems. This core group collaborates with other scientists at the University who are involved in projects that complement and enhance the center. CCRTD is currently working to recruit social and behavioral scientists who will explore the ethical, legal and social implications of biomedical research in general and cancer research in particular. In addition, the CCRTD recently established a Cancer Genomics Center at CAU working in collaboration with Georgia Tech and St. Joseph’s Health System. It is the goal of the CCRTD to significantly increase the body of knowledge on cancer research, particularly as these diseases disproportionately impact the population mainly served by Clark Atlanta University, African-Americans. The overall mission of CCRTD is:

  • To develop a core group of internationally known group of scientists, that will carry out highly productive basic research in cancer cell biology and contribute in development of successful therapeutic strategies to combat cancer
  • To involve undergraduate and graduate students in the area of cancer research and to train postdoctoral fellows in the area of cancer biology and, hence, help develop future generation of African-American scientists of the highest caliber.
  • To establish an educational program that will help to increase awareness for prevention, early detection and treatment of cancers, especially those which disproportionately affect the African-American community.

CCRTD will host it's 8th National Symposium on Prostate Cancer at Clark Atlanta University from March 18 - 20, 2012!  Visit CCRTD's website  for more information!  You may also view the Symposium Program Agenda.

Environmental Justice Resource Center (EJRC) 
The Environmental Justice Resource Center (EJRC) at Clark Atlanta University was formed in 1994 to serve as a research, policy, and information clearinghouse on issues related to environmental justice, race and the environment, civil rights and human rights, facility siting, land use planning, brownfields, transportation equity, suburban sprawl and smart growth, energy, global climate change, and climate justice. The overall goal of the center is to assist, support, train, and educate people of color students, professionals, and grassroots community leaders with the goal of facilitating their inclusion into the mainstream of decision-making. The center is multi-disciplinary in its focus and approach. It serves as a bridge among the social and behavioral sciences, health professionals, natural and physical sciences, engineering, management, and legal disciplines to prevent and solve environmental and health problems.  The major objectives of EJRC are:

  • To develop three-way partnerships among "impacted" communities, environmental justice groups, and historically black colleges and universities and other minority academic institutions (HBCU/MAI).
  • To increase the quality and quantity of environmental, health, land use, economic development, transportation, energy, and global climate change research and policy information available to community leaders.
  • To link via the internet people of color groups, organizations, institutions, networks that are working on environmental justice, sustainable and livable communities, equitable development, public health, climate change, and related areas.
  • To assist community groups and other stakeholders in implementing benchmarks they have set for themselves.
  • To facilitate the development of mechanisms, policies, and procedures for the inclusion of people of color, impacted communities, and underrepresented groups into public decision making.

High Performance Polymers and Composites (HiPPAC) Center
The CAU High Performance Polymers and Composites (HiPPAC) Center has made significant contributions in the synthesis and characterization of polyimides; synthesis and characterization of nonlinear optical polymeric materials; and fabrication and mechanical characterization of composites and increasing the participation of minority students in polymers and composites research.   

The center’s research, development, and education activities focus on the development of high performance polymers and composites supporting the safety, environmental compatibility, and productivity of air transportation and space systems, and continue to provide an environment where undergraduate and graduate students can learn and participate in cutting edge polymers and composites research.  Since 1992, over 90 undergraduate and graduate students from various departments have been supported by projects in HiPPAC. Further, the center collaborates with NASA, DOD and aerospace companies to conduct a range of research and development activities in the following areas:

  • Methods for dispersion of nanoparticles in polymer resins;
  • Rheology, cure kinetics and resin processability Inorganic-polymer nanocomposites;
  • Development of structure-property relationships in nanocomposites;
  •  Mechanical characterization and modeling of polymeric nanocomposites, polymeric matrix composites and laminated materials;
  • Multiscale modeling of nanostructured composites;
  • Characterization of aerogels, and polyimide foams;
  • Fabrication of composites by resin transfer molding (RTM), vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding (VARTM), and resin infusion.  

The center has access to an array of equipment and instrumentation infrastructure to support these initiatives including axial and axial-torsion servohydraulic test frames, ultrasonic NDI and environmental chambers, resin and vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding equipment, and elevated temperature creep frames.

Center for Theoretical Studies in Physical Systems (CTSPS)
The Center for Theoretical Studies of Physical Systems was established in 1991 by a multi-million dollar grant through the NSF CREST program, although the center has received funding from other federal and state agencies, and the private sector. Research at the CTSPS is conducted through a dynamic clustering of researchers in the areas of atomic and molecular theory, and condensed matter, mathematical physics/applied mathematics, and wavelet analysis and multidimensional signal processing. Some of the strengths of this center include simulation and modeling, low-energy scattering theory, solid-state theory, image processing, and mathematical physics theory.  

CTSPS has extensive research partnerships and collaborations to conduct cutting edge research at CAU, and has established a mechanism to educate and produce African-American M.S. and Ph.D. students in STEM fields. Several CSTPS graduate students have completed Ph.D.s at major research universities such as Rice University, Georgia Tech, University of Michigan and University of Maryland. CSTPS has numerous collaborations domestically and abroad with premier research institutions such as Harvard University, University of California-Berkeley, MIT, Stanford, University of Benin, ICTP (Italy), the African Laser Centre (Pretoria), and iThemba Labs (South Africa). CSTPS is an active member of the African Laser Centre which is a virtual center of excellence and one of the strongest combinations of human and physical infrastructure for science in Africa that links scientists and laser facilities in six African nations. In addition, CSTPS attracts noteworthy visiting scientists and graduate students globally to strengthen and impact its diverse research capability, and further strengthen these partnerships. Recently, CSTPS co-organized with Caltech and African Laser Centre the first US-African Institute on Photon Interactions (Durban) and with iThemba Labs the Nanosciences Workshop (Cape Town). CTSPS also collaborates with the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) facility at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, which is supported by the U.S. DOE, and the Queen’s University of Belfast, UK for access to supercomputers for simulation and modeling research activities. High school minority students and teachers have been impacted by the outreach activities of CTSPS such as Peer Tutorial program, Summer Research Apprenticeship program, and the Summer Enrichment and Summer Transportation Institute programs. CTSPS, characterized by excellent researchers, continues to publish in peer reviewed journals and attract funding for basic research.

Center of Academic Excellence in National Security Studies (CAENS)
The importance of analytical skills that apply across a variety of disciplines has become increasingly evident in recent years. Numerous studies have indicated the need for larger numbers of intelligence analysts with diverse backgrounds and ethnicities. The existing infrastructure for training is limited by the difficulty of scaling up from previous levels to the new demands for analysts. Academic institutions have an important role to play in fulfilling these requirements. As the challenges of the new century unfolds government agencies, private industry, consulting companies, and think tanks will increasingly rely on this new cadre of employees in formulating policies, and developing business strategies who are responsible global citizens, while at the same time are protecting the competitive interests of the U.S. Government and organizations. The Center for Academic Excellence in National Security Studies (CAENS) at Clark Atlanta University (CAU) was established in 2005 under funding provided by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) with the specific purpose of developing a new cadre of students capable of fulfilling this role. CAU was one of the first four centers funded in the Intelligence Community Centers of Academic Excellence (IC-CAE) Program.   To fulfill this mission, CAENS has developed an innovative, interdisciplinary program of study, research, and outreach. This program has attracted faculty from disciplines across the CAU curriculum, encompassing schools and departments. Faculty members from the departments of History, English, Computer and Information Science (CIS), Public Administration, Psychology, Physics, Political Science, Business, and Sociology among others have participated in this program. The CAENS program includes the following key components: 1. Intelligence Community (IC) Scholar Program; 2. Curriculum Development; 3. High School Outreach; and 4. Faculty/Student Research in areas of interest to the IC community. The IC Scholars include high achieving students from Clark Atlanta, Spelman, Morehouse and Georgia Tech. Included in the weekly sessions were scholarly lectures, writing and research, and leadership and professional development. Since its inception in 2005, CAENS Studies has had a total of 49 active IC scholars. International travel has been one of CAENS Studies most popular components, given that the students are provided generous scholarships from the grant to cover travel costs. Between 2006 and 2008, thirty-eight IC scholars have travelled abroad for lengths varying from a week to a semester. IC scholars have travelled to China, Ecuador, Turkey, Spain, England, and Greece.  

An allied activity conducted by the Department of Computer and Information Science (CIS) under CAENS has curriculum activity focused on the incorporation of Information Assurance (IA) organically into the CIS course of study and IA related research. The CIS IA curriculum, course of study, and facilities has been recognized as conforming to IA national educational standards by the Department of Defense/National Security Agency (DoD/NSA). DoD/NSA certified the CAU/CIS Department as a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Information Assurance in 2005, and re-certified in 2008. (CAU was the first HBCU to be recognized as an IA CAE).