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Sainsbury Laboratory

Close-up of young brachypodium plants growing in cellular trays of compost


Our Horticulture Facility incorporates:

  • 37 walk-in controlled environment growth chambers
  • 8 reach-in controlled environment growth cabinets
  • 303m2 glasshouse
  • Vernalisation room
  • Seed store



Controlled Environment Plant Growth Facilities

Our plant growth facility offers precisely controlled environment chambers, ensuring repeatable experimental conditions. It accommodates a wide variety of plant species and allows researchers to custom-control temperature, humidity, and light conditions, providing an ideal setting for plant developmental research.

Engineered and built by the Canadian company Conviron, the 37 walk-in chambers provide us with a large capacity for growing.

We have 3 different types of controlled plant growth chambers, which widens the range of plants that can be grown. The majority of these rooms are housed below the greenhouses in the basement area, which also encloses the preparation area and vernalisation room.


MTPC Vitality Chambers

We have 26 MTCP Vitality walk-in chambers. They designed to support early growth of young plants germinated from experimental seeds. Often referred to as the ‘Arabidopsis Room,’ the MTPC is ideally suited for the growing of these model plants. It is a multi-tiered room that provides 18m² of growing space, with flexible moving trolleys and easily adjustable lighting for increase or decrease in µmole light requirements.


PGC Flex Cabinets

We have 5 PGC Flex reach-in cabinets. These cabinets operate as single-tier growth chambers with a counterbalanced light canopy and upward airflow. They also offer flexibility and are useful for growing a wide range of plants. Each cabinet has a 2m² surface area, adjustable pulley roof lights giving a maximum growth height of 1.5m, temperature control from 10°C to 40°C (lights on) and maximum light level of 700µmoles. There are 5 of these cabinets.


BDW High Light Chambers

Our 11 BDW high light walk-in chambers high light level rooms provide excellent growing conditions. The top-down airflow pattens ensures consistent plant canopy temperature and the spectral aluminium on the interior walls light produces uniform light throughout the chamber. By providing high light levels (up to 1100µmoles) and high temperatures, coupled with maintaining humidity within ample growth space, these rooms are ideal for growing cereals and other crops.




Our venlo style glasshouse offers a functional and practical growing space for growing plants where precise environmental requirements are not a prerequisite. It allows researchers a clean and useful growing space all year round. Built by Bridge Greenhouses, it has mobile benches, resin sealed floor and grow lamps. The facility benefits from a separate plant preparation area easily accessible to the main growing areas through a central corridor.


Seed store

The Sainsbury Laboratory Seed Store houses seeds of the model plants that we use for research. It is vital for the storage, care and maintenance of lines of seeds relating to specific research projects. Seeds are living organisms and so need constantly maintained environmental conditions in order to survive long term.

Our the seed store provides a controlled environment giving the International Day Room Standard of 15% relative humidity at a temperature of 15˚C. This gives us the opportunity to store plants such as Arabidopsis for over 200 years, whilst still maintaining 85-95% viability.