DOs and DONTs of Good Lab Citizenship

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  • Stay SAFE!
  • Be CONSIDERATE of others (their stuff, needs, space, etc)
  • Always ASK SOMEONE if you’re not sure about something. First ask the iGEM graduate advisors before asking other members of the Endy lab.
  • THINK before you do.
  • CLEAN UP after yourself, both on a day-to-day basis, and once the competition is over. If you’ve caused a spill in a centrifuge, clean it up.
  • Maintain a CLEAN workspace.
  • REFILL the stocks of pipette tip boxes above the PCR machines if you are taking the penultimate or the last box of a kind (e.g. 1000ul tips)
  • If we’re out of anything (e.g. gloves, cuvettes), ASK your graduate leaders on how to reorder.
  • Maintain STERILE technique.
  • ASK someone before you move their stuff.
  • Before putting a container into the metal tray for cleaning/sterilizing, REMOVE any labels, BLEACH (if biological material) and RINSE the container.
  • BALANCE the centrifuges.
  • ASK SOMEONE how to use a piece of equipment if you haven’t used it before.
  • If you use the roller drums or shakers in the 30C or 37C rooms, remember to TURN THEM BACK ON.
  • CLOSE refrigerator doors!!
  • Use YOUR OWN master stocks of chemicals and supplies; we’ll tell you which other supplies you’re allowed to use.
  • READ PROTOCOLS before you attempt them.
  • Keep any proteins (endonucleases, ligase, Taq supermix) always ON ICE
  • CHANGE TIPS between aliquots of important stocks.
  • WEAR GLOVES when working w/ dangerous/sensitive chemicals (phenol, RNA, etc).
  • Keep a good LAB NOTEBOOK so you know what you did.
  • Store GLYCEROLS appropriately
  • If you did something wrong, CONFESS and tell someone. You won’t get in trouble for accidents, but you’ll get in trouble for not letting people know.


  • Don’t Be too shy to ASK QUESTIONS.
  • Don’t Start something without THINKING about what you’re doing
  • Don’t Use a MACHINE without having received training on it.
  • Don’t POUR hazardous or unknown chemicals down the sink. What can be poured down the sink is written on a sheet next to the sink.
  • Don’t pour MOLTEN AGAR down the sink as this clog the pipes below the sink.
  • Don’t make a MESS of communal space such as refrigerators
  • Don’t put SHARPS in the Biowaste, because they’ll make holes in the plastic, causing molten agar to leak through when autoclaving
  • Don’t autoclave in the “kitchen”, during the kitchen working hours (~6am-2pm). Do not leave autoclaved material in the kitchen autoclaved overnight.
  • Don’t leave a door to a cold or warm room OPEN.
  • Don’t IGNORE equipment alarms
  • Don’t USE master stocks other than your own without permission, especially not lab ANTIBIOTICS.
  • Do not hold on to FLASKS or bottles for long after your’re done with them. Instead, when you are done with flasks/bottles, BLEACH them (if you used them to grow cultures) and put them in the metal tray near the sink so they can go back into circulation.
  • Don’t just DUMP your biohazard waste into other people’s waste bins and then not clean it up.
  • Don’t leave your stuff lying around in other people’s areas.
  • Don’t EAT/DRINK in lab (go to the tea room to eat lunch and hang out).
  • Don’t PLAY MUSIC out loud (not everyone likes your taste).
  • Don’t DATE people who you manage, supervise, evaluate or otherwise have power over.