SIPS Plant Innovation Hub

What we do

The School of Integrative Plant Science’s Plant Innovation Hub (formerly the Plant Transformation Facility) provides the SIPS community with access to high-tech plant transformation.

Conveniently located in B22 Weill Hall (accessible through the tunnel from Plant Science Building), we provide reagents, equipment, protocols and training so that you can develop valuable plant transformation skills and make discoveries that will transform the plant sciences and improve lives.

Contact us

Questions? Email Laboratory Director Sandra Harrington:  seh15 [at] (seh15[at]cornell[dot]edu)

Transformation facilities and rates

We charge $13.50/hour to use our fully equipped facility. We offer training in tissue culture and transformation techniques along with necessary equipment and supplies, including:

  • 5 laminar flow hoods (certified annually)
  • 2 tissue culture growth rooms (details below)
  • Fully-stocked wet lab for preparation of media, including selective agents and plant growth regulators/hormones
  • Centrifuges (refrigerated & non-refrigerated, including high-speed ultra-centrifuge)
  • Adjustable-temperature culture incubators (shaking and stationary)
  • Gene Gun ($14.85/bombardment.)
  • Nanodrop
  • Thermal cyclers (including real-time PCR)
  • Gel electrophoresis and imaging equipment
  • Electroporator
  • Competent cells (DH5alpha, EH105, EH101, Agl-1, GV3101)
  • Ultra-low freezer
  • Several microscopes
  • Polytron
  • Autoclave 

You don't need to purchase procedure-specific equipment and bulk supplies to test out your new ideas.  You can use ours to test your proof of concept until you are sure of what you will need to meet your research objectives.

Please contact Sandra Harrington at seh15 [at] (seh15[at]cornell[dot]edu) with questions or to schedule a visit to the facility located in B22 Weill Hall.

Facility features

Controlled temperature growth rooms

Choose between:

  • Growth Room A      24°C   16 hours light
  • Growth Room B      28°C   12 hours light

Each shelf can accommodate:

  • 72 standard petri plates, or
  • 105 magenta boxes

Use of one shelf is included when you do a transformation in the facility.  Or you can just rent shelf space in one of the rooms for $6.65 per shelf per month.

growth room with shelves of plants

Bio-Rad gene gun

Bio-Rad Biolistic PDS-1000 / Helium Particle Delivery System.

  • Bombardments: $14.85 each

You must bring your own DNA at appropriate concentration.

Fees include: 

  • Training/assistance from staff
  • Use of facility to prepare and check your samples (via agarose gel)
  • Necessary consumables for use of the gene gun in laminar flow hood, including gold particles
gene gun in shiny stainless steel workspace

Bio-Rad real-time PCR

Bio-Rad CFX Connect Real-Time PCR System.

  • $13.50/hour
  • Includes one 96 well plate and seal per run
  • Bring your own DNA and all components for PCR reactions
Bio-Rad CFX Connect Real-Time PCR System

Example Agrobacterium-mediated transformation costs

Approximate cost for transformations = $13.50/hour x  # hours

An inexperienced user might require 50 to 60 hours to complete a transformation, while those with more experience may only need 30 to 35 hours.

The typical total cost ranges for one Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation (~10 transformants):

  • Tomato: $450 - $750
  • Rice: $500 - $650


  • Use of incubators/shakers, centrifuges, laminar flow hood, pipettes, forceps, scalpels, other necessities for tissue culture
  • Use of competent cells, electroporator, media ingredients including stock solutions, disposable petri plates, magenta boxes
  • Use of one shelf in controlled-temperature growth room
  • Guidance/training from Innovation Hub staff as needed

Note: Users must supply plant/seed material and will need to arrange for their own growth chamber/greenhouse space to grow out rooted transformants.

Other plant transformation services on campus

The Center for Plant Biotechnology Research (CPBR), located in the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) offers plant transformations as a fee-based service. If ever there is a backlog at the CPBR facility, the Hub may be able to offer some transformation services at a comparable cost. However, the main mission of the Plant Innovation Hub is to involve students and researchers in the process so that they develop skills in plant transformation.

Help us help you

Our present focus is serving the needs of plant scientists from SIPS and affiliated partners, including scientists at the Boyce Thompson Institute and the USDA-ARS Robert Holley Center for Agriculture and Health.

Beyond that, we are evolving into a full-scale collaborative facility that fosters discovery and innovation within the plant sciences and beyond – exploring the interface of our disciplines with engineering, computational science, advanced imaging, and nanobiotechnology.

Our mission is to foster a creative environment where technical staff, students, postdocs and faculty can find advice, training and access to resources to catalyze cutting-edge plant research in areas that include synthetic biology, plant transformation, digital agriculture, genome editing, and biological engineering.

As ‘The Hub’ evolves as a nexus for cross-disciplinary plant science at Cornell, how can we anticipate your needs in the near future and beyond?  Please seh15 [at] (contact Sandy Harrington, Plant Innovation Hub Director) and join the conversation.