The WSU Stable Isotope Core Laboratory provides stable isotope and analytical analyses to the Washington State University community as well as other academic, government, and private agencies around the world. The primary missions of the facility are to facilitate novel research for WSU researchers, and to provide hands-on training to students, postdoctoral associates, and research personnel.
The facility was established in 2004 through a Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to faculty now in the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Agriculture, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, and the College of Engineering and Architecture. This award provided funds for our first two stable isotope mass spectrometers. A second NSF MRI award in 2009 provided funds for two more mass spectrometers. Our own funds and a match from the College of Sciences then allowed us to purchase a Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer for compound identification and to support our research using compound-specific isotope analyses. Finally, the retirement of a close friend of the facility, Professor John Marshall, who directed the University of Idaho stable isotope facility, led to a merger of the Idaho facility into the WSU core laboratory. This increased our facility to its current size of six stable isotope and one quadrupole mass spectrometer.
We typically analyze more than 20,000 samples each year. Student use of the facility has resulted in over 40 theses and dissertations. We currently support over 40 research awards at WSU totaling over $15,000,000, located across six campuses and research stations.