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20.109(F13): Laboratory Fundamentals of Biological Engineering

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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.


  • The M1D6 protocol content is now up to date. It is possible that the language will be tweaked before tomorrow. We instructors had a lot of fun deciding what experiments would be most interesting for you to perform this year -- hope you enjoy! AgiStachowiak 16:56, 30 September 2013 (EDT)
  • Just a reminder also that we do have a quiz on M1D6. Remember that morning lecture material is fair game.
  • Digests and lane annotations for both sections are now up on the M1D5 Talk page. Thank you, Lizzie! AgiStachowiak 21:56, 29 September 2013 (EDT)
  • T/R digests are posted on the M1D5 Talk page along with a note that you should read. W/F folks, your gels should be posted late tomorrow or early Monday -- in the meantime, please post your colony counts. Thanks! AgiStachowiak 18:45, 28 September 2013 (EDT)
  • Reminder: Agi has office hours from 4-5 pm in 16-319 today. AgiStachowiak 16:14, 24 September 2013 (EDT)
  • Reminder: no lecture today! AgiStachowiak 09:53, 24 September 2013 (EDT)
  • All: Here are the Hallmarks of Cancer papers that Prof. Engelward spoke about on Tuesday Weinberg & Hanahan 2000 and Weinberg & Hanahan 2011. As she suggested, the first paper would be a great place to start. I will also be referring to these papers in Module 2. Shannon
  • You can find old announcements here