Located in McCollum Science Hall and the Biology Research Complex, the Department of Biology is home to dozens of specialized laboratory spaces and instructional facilities. These spaces are outfitted with advanced technology and equipment, used by our students in daily learning, and for ongoing research projects. Learn more about our spaces below.

In addition, the UNI Department of Biology is home to the UNI Botanical Center, the Tallgrass Prairie Center and the UNI Biological Preserves. You can learn more about our facilities below.

visitors in the botanical center on family weekend

UNI Botanical Center

The Botanical Center is home to a diverse collection of plants which are displayed inside a tropical house, desert house, aquatic house, and propagation house. You can explore a wide variety of plant species – including endangered species, and plants that wouldn’t normally survive in our Northern Iowa climate.

Oftentimes, biology classes will come to the botanical center classroom for coursework. There is also a research work room and two research greenhouses. Students are routinely employed here to assist in the care and maintenance of the plant collection and exterior gardens.

visitors walking at the tallgrass prairie center

Tallgrass Prairie Center

The Tallgrass Prairie Center aims to establish, restore and protect native prairie around Iowa, and to educate Iowans about the history and significance of our state’s native prairie habitat.

The Tallgrass Prairie Center features nearly 70 acres of land on campus, which is dedicated to native seed production nurseries and field experiments. The space also features staff and student offices, a 40-seat classroom and meeting space, research lab, an 1800-square foot greenhouse and more.

A Culture of Collaboration

Many of the programs hosted by the TPC are accomplished through partnerships with organizations, associations, and federal, state and local agencies.

The land, equipment, facilities and staff of the TPC support a variety of UNI faculty research projects and teaching labs, creating enriching opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students at the University of Northern Iowa. 

Opportunities at the TPC

Students often have the chance to work, volunteer or conduct research at the prairie and in partnership with the TPC and its programs.

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SynDaver Lab

UNI is the first university in Iowa to use SynDavers, which are synthetic human cadavers, and we’ll soon be the first school in the world to receive the new Generation 3 SynDavers. Each SynDaver is incredibly lifelike, and allows our anatomy and physiology classes to more accurately explore the human body down to specific nerves, bones and muscles. 

a student works with a syndaver

Biological Preserves

Our department is home to more than 80 acres of natural area spanning six Biological Preserves. These preservers offer students an opportunity to explore our campus, and its natural features.

two students look at a notebook in the biological preserves