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20.109(F13): Laboratory Fundamentals of Biological Engineering

Home        Schedule Fall 2013        Assignments       
DNA Engineering        System Engineering        Biomaterials Engineering              

Welcome and Details for Fall 2013

Lecture: T/R 11-12 (16-220)
Lab: T/R 1-5 or W/F 1-5 (56-322)
People: Instructor and student web pages may be found at the linked People page.

Welcome to 20.109! For some of you this will be the first time in a research lab and for others it will not; either way, it is our goal to make this class a useful and fun introduction to experiments and techniques in biological engineering. There is not time enough to show you everything you’ll need to know if you go on to do research, but after taking this class you should feel confident and familiar with some fundamental experimental approaches and lab protocols. You will develop good habits at the bench, ones that will increase the likelihood of success in your work and ensure the health and safety of you and those around you. By the end of the semester, you should also be aware of good scientific practice, having had some experience with report writing, notebook keeping, and publicly presenting data and your ideas. All of us involved in teaching 20.109 hope you will find it a satisfying challenge and an exciting experience that has lasting value.

Orientation and Safety Material

On the first day of 20.109, you will take an interactive tour to get up to speed on the basics of working in a lab. The lab tour is linked here. You should also carefully read the general lab policy, which broadly covers dos and don'ts specific to our class.

We will spend a lot of time together this semester and get to know each other well. Everyone in the 20.109 family needs the support of their peers and instructors. If you find yourself in a situation where more guidance would be appreciated, here are a couple places to get it.

Later in the semester, you will want to read guidelines for working in the tissue culture facility. Stay tuned!

At any time you can refer the guidelines on using personal protective equipment developed by the Environmental Health and Safety Office (EHS) at MIT: one on eye protection (PDF download) and one on wearing lab coats (PDF download).

Finally, you can learn how to best contribute to the class wiki at the linked OWW in 20.109 page.


  • Research Proposal Office Hours
    • Agi, Mon by apt, Tue 11am-noon office
    • Shannon, Sun 7-9pm in lab, Mon 2-3pm 16-429b
    • Note: Shannon will not have office hours Mon 7-8pm
  • Hi, folks! We are back to regular office hours this first week of December.
    • Shannon, Mon 2-3 pm, 16-429b
    • Shannon, Mon 7-8 pm, lab
    • Agi, Tue 4-5 pm, 16-319
  • Thanksgiving week office hours:
    • Shannon, Mon 2-3 pm, 16-429b
    • Shannon, Mon 7-8 pm, lab
    • (Agi, M/T by appointment)
    • Shannon, Tue 1-3 pm, lab
    • Agi, Wed 12-2 pm, lab
  • Agi will have regular OH today from 4-5 pm. If they are as quiet as I expect (go ahead, prove me wrong!), I may head over to the lab to do some work, in which case I'll leave a note on my door. You'll certainly be able to find me one place or the other. AgiStachowiak 12:53, 19 November 2013 (EST)
  • Shannon will NOT hold office hours tomorrow, Monday, Nov. 18th. But will be available for questions by email. Shannon
  • Except for the FNT, M3D3 is fully updated for F13. AgiStachowiak 16:49, 15 November 2013 (EST)
  • A few minor edits for clarity have been made to M3D2. Nothing that you *must* change in your notebook if you already started it, but you *may* do so for your ease of use. AgiStachowiak 14:27, 13 November 2013 (EST)
  • W/F folks: (1) Agi will not hold her normal 4-5 pm OH today (as if anyone would come!), but will do so next week. (2) Feel free to submit your reflections on Stellar or else by sending an Ever/note.AgiStachowiak 10:21, 12 November 2013 (EST)
  • Two minor edits were made to M3D1 this morning, in Part 1 step 2 and Part 1 step 6. Other edits were completed yesterday evening. AgiStachowiak 10:20, 12 November 2013 (EST)
  • Several notes:
    • No lecture Thursday, Nov 7th.
    • Shannon's OH: Thurs (11/7) 2-5pm in lab, Fri by appointment, Not avail Saturday, Sunday (11/10) noon-5pm in 56-302 & lunch room
    • Agi's OH: Friday (11/8) 1:30-4:30pm in lab, by email or appointment remainder of weekend
    • Check the Reflections page -- there are two reflections due on M3D1
    • Let me know if you have any questions Shannon
  • Reminder: Agi has FNT pick up today from 4:15-4:30 in her office 16-319. (Methods and schematics only.) AgiStachowiak 12:13, 5 November 2013 (EST)
  • Thank you, Tom, for adding previous/next day navigation links to the bottom of each Mod 2 wiki page! Folks, please let us know how these work out and if they should be a 109 wiki staple. AgiStachowiak 10:52, 31 October 2013 (EDT)
  • The .tif files from W/F M2D6 Licor Scans have been unploaded to the talk page. Check them out!
  • The .tif files from T/R M2D6 Licor Scans have been unploaded to the talk page. Check them out!
  • Reminder: Agi's extended OH today (Tuesday 10/29) are from 3:45-5:15 pm in 16-319.
  • Prof. Engelward will hold OH tomorrow (Monday, 10/28) from 3-5pm in her office (16-743). Shannon
  • M2D6 is done -- M2D7 in progress. Thanks! Shannon
  • Please note: the M2D6 wiki is not yet finished. I will send a class-wide email when it is ready for prime time. Very likely Friday or Saturday. Thanks for your patience. Shannon
  • Please see your email for a link to the M2D4 pre-lab video. Also, Shannon will hold OH this week on Monday (10/21) from 2-3pm in 16-429b and Wednesday (10/23) from 7-8pm in the lab.
  • And Agi will hold office hours from 2-3 pm the same day (Wed, 10/16) also in the lab.
  • Shannon will have a rescheduled office hour on Wednesday (10/16) from 7-8pm in the lab. Shannon
  • Lizzie: Let me know if I forgot to return anyone's notebook. Otherwise, good luck, class! It was nice meeting all of you :)
  • You can find old announcements here