About Us

group lab photo

The Center for the Conservation of Biological Resources

CCBR is located on the Black Hills State University campus, room 113 of the Life Science Laboratory, and rooms 101 and 110 of Jonas Hall.  Jonas 110 houses faculty and staff research bench space and the DNA core facility, WestCore.  This portion of the lab maintains highly monitored, and restricted access in order to maintain a secure area for evidence samples that are submitted to the core facility for forensic analysis.  Additionally, this portion of the lab also provides office carrel space for the Director, Associate Director, research associates and the secretary.  Jonas 101, which adjoins 110, houses additional research bench space that is used by CCBR undergraduate and graduate student researchers and by two of the CCBR associated faculty.  While also a restricted access space, Jonas 101 allows current CCBR student employees and undergraduate research fellows access from 6 am to 10 pm every day, and allows CCBR associated graduate students and CCBR associated faculty unrestricted access in accordance with University safety and security policies.

Both laboratories are fully equipped for typical molecular genetic research techniques commonly used such as genomic and cDNA library construction, cloning, PCR, agarose and acrylamide gel electrophoresis, etc. Jonas 101 provides an area dedicated to RNA isolation and manipulation. Jonas 110 houses WestCore’s genetic analyzers, as well as two real-time PCR systems and a microarray scanner.

CCBR Misson Statement

The Center for the Conservation of Biological Resources (CCBR) was established in Spearfish, South Dakota in association with the Science Department at Black Hills State University.  CCBR exists to support genetic and genomic research that is important to the Black Hills and Great Plains regions with a focus on priority problems and needs expressed by various agencies and organizations region-wide.

Our mission is:

  • A strong emphasis on mentoring undergraduate research - Ample research opportunities exist for motivated undergraduate students interested in developing laboratory skills and gaining laboratory experience that will make them more competitive when applying for graduate programs, or for employment with research agencies both public and private.
  • A strong emphasis on mentoring graduate students enrolled in the Master of Science Program in Integrative Genomics.  All of the faculty associated with CCBR have been approved as graduate faculty members and are actively involved in mentoring graduate student research and teaching graduate level courses.
  • Community Outreach – CCBR provides various educational and informational workshops and events that promote an understanding of the practical applications of conservation biology and genomics research.
  • Application of modern scientific technology to basic and applied scientific research on species of ecological and/or economic importance to South Dakota and the Great Plains region.
  • Development and maintenance of collaborative research efforts with state and regional agencies.
  • Development of partnerships with research collaborators at other academic institutions in order to strengthen the research of others, as well as to utilize the expertise of other faculty to strengthen the research interests of CCBR.
  • Promotion of technology transfer from academia to commercial ventures.
Shane Sarver

Dr. Shane K Sarver, PhD

Phone: (605)642-6058 
Email: Shane.Sarver@bhsu.edu


Cynthia Anderson

Dr. Cynthia Anderson, PhD

Associate Director
Phone: (605)642-6519
Email: Cynthia.Anderson@bhsu.edu


Garth Spellman

Dr. Garth Spellman, PhD

Assistant Professor
Email: Garth.Spellman@bhsu.edu


Forrest Cain

Forrest H Cain

Research Associate 
Phone: (605)642-6854
Email: Forrest.Cain@bhsu.edu

Biography:  I received my Bachelors of Science in Biology from Black Hills State University.  While receiving my degree, I worked in CCBR/WestCore for three years. Upon completing my degree, I was hired full time. I have worked as a full time research associate since May of 2006. I currently work with undergraduate and graduate students, teaching molecular techniques commonly used in our lab including DNA extraction procedures, PCR techniques,  DNA sequencing and fragment analysis.  I assist with community outreach and work with the other lab faculty and staff in facilitating learning exercises for elementary, junior high and high school students. I work on grant funded projects as the need arises, and  I am the  sole Wildlife Forensics Examiner/Analyst for CCBR/WestCore. In addition to the Wildlife Forensics program, I also work extensively with other fee for service projects including Bison hybridity testing, microbial diversity analysis, etc..

Oxana Gorbatenko

Research Assistant
Email: Oxana.Gorbatenko@bhsu.edu






Westcore is a fully automated laboratory with (2) ABI 3130 Avant Genetic Analyzers, (2)  9800 Fast Thermocyclers, (2) Eppendorf Gradient Thermocyclers, (6)  9700 Thermocyclers,  (2)  ABI 7500 Real-time PCR machines,  and a GenePix Pro Microarray Scanner.

Funding Sources






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