The Center for Applied Isotope Studies (CAIS) is an interdisciplinary unit that is administratively under the University of Georgia’s Office of Research. The CAIS was formally established in 1977 to expand the nuclear technology mission of the Geochronology Laboratory established, in 1968, by John Noakes in the Department of Geology. Dr. Noakes served as the Director of CAIS from its inception until his retirement in December 2012. In November 2011, Dr. Jeff Speakman was hired as CAIS Associate Director and subsequently was appointed CAIS Director following the retirement of Dr. Noakes. Our Associate Director and Senior Scientist, Dr. Randy Culp, became Interim Director of the Center in Fall 2019. Professor Doug Crowe became the Center’s Interim Director and our Research Scientist Dr. Carla Hadden became Interim Associate Director in Fall 2020. Dr. Hadden became our Director and Tom Maddox became our Assistant Director and Operations Manager in Spring 2021. In the fall of 2023, Dr. Ravi Prasad became the Associate Director of CAIS. The CAIS occupies a 22,000 square-foot complex of offices and laboratories located in UGA’s Riverbend Research Facility. Additional facilities are located in the UGA Chemistry Building, the Geology/Geography Building, and in the L.L. Pete Philips Wood Utilization Plant Sciences Building within the Whitehall Forest complex of the Warnell School of Forest Resources.

CAIS is accredited (since 2015) under the International Organization for Standardization, ISO/IEC 17025:2017 for stable isotope and radiocarbon analyses—an accreditation that is universally recognized as the highest level of quality attainable by a testing laboratory.

Our mission is:

  • To provide the highest quality analytical services to researchers in academia, industry, and government.
  • To foster scientific excellence and enhance the global reputation of UGA as a research institution.
  • To prepare UGA students for high levels of achievement in STEM fields.
  • To promote public engagement in STEM fields by developing outreach programs and educational materials that address the specific needs of the state of Georgia and its local communities.
  • To work in partnership with UGA academic departments, centers, and institutes to facilitate integrative research and promote the growth of UGA as a leader in applied STEM fields.


The Center for Applied Isotope Studies is and always has been a tracer-free facility: we do not accept, handle, graphitize or count samples containing Tracer or Labeled (Hot) 14C due to the risk of cross-contamination.