20.109(S12):General lab policy

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20.109(S12): Laboratory Fundamentals of Biological Engineering

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RNA Engineering        Protein Engineering        Cell Engineering              


Lab Attendance

Lab attendance is mandatory and there are no make-up labs. Acceptable reasons for missing lab include a family crisis or a severe illness requiring medical attention and prohibiting you from all coursework; every effort will be made to accommodate you in these exceptional circumstances.

Things to do

  1. Be on time. Each lab period will begin with a short introduction to that day's experiment. It is unfair to others in the lab — especially your partner — if you are not up to speed when the work begins.
  2. Inform the instructor and/or TA if there is a problem. You will have our immediate attention if you have injured yourself (even if you consider it minor) by sharp, chemical, or fire. Please also let us know if anything breaks, spills, or catches fire.
  3. Be aware of all laboratory safety devices. Even though the instructor and TA will take care of emergencies, you should know where to find the first aid kit, the chemical spill kit, the eye wash, and the safety shower.
  4. Minimize clutter. Store your backpacks and jackets in the empty cubbies next to the main door. Anything left in the aisles is likely to be stepped on and is a hazard to everyone.
  5. Be aware of others in the lab. You should take care not to bump into your labmates (who may be holding precious samples!) and not to disturb their benchtop experiments. Keep in mind that areas of the room may be crowded at times.
  6. Wash your hands before you leave the lab for the day.
  7. Bring your lab notebook and an open mind to every lab meeting.

Things not to do

  1. Do not eat, drink, chew gum, smoke, or apply cosmetics in the lab. Just being in lab makes your hands dirtier than you can imagine and you don’t want to accidentally eat any reagent (see item 6 on “things to do” list).
  2. Do not work with chemicals until you are sure of their safe handling. Be aware of their flammability, reactivity, toxicity, and disposal.
  3. Do not touch "non-lab" equipment (including phones, computers, and doorknobs) with gloves on. When removing gloves is inconvenient, use the foot pedals at the sinks or wrap a paper towel around the sink handle.
    • Similarly, note that most lab equipment is "gloves on," and you may expose your hands to residues left by a previous user if you leave them bare.
  4. Do not put pieces of lab equipment in your mouth. It sounds obvious but you’d be surprised!
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