- 1 Lab Safety Training & Requirements
- 2 Brown University Undergraduates
- 3 Equipment Use Policies
- 4 Sample Labeling Policies
- 5 Ordering Supplies
- 6 Sample Shipping
- 7 International Fieldwork
Lab Safety Training & Requirements
Please check with Tyler as you develop your research plan. Given the diversity of research interests in our lab, each researcher may have to meet different responsibilities. Fulfilling some of these responsibilities may require several weeks of planning before lab work can begin.
University Training & Requirements
To work in the molecular lab, minimal requirements at Brown include:
Brown University Undergraduates
If you are an undergraduate with interest in joining the lab for an independent study, senior thesis, or other opportunity, this section includes some brief tips and links for you. Undergraduates will have the opportunity to develop independent project ideas and/or contribute to ongoing projects where opportunities allow. We love to collaborate with students from many concentrations, and can facilitate research involving fieldwork, lab work, and computational research; but not all such opportunities are available all the time. Students joining the lab will be expected to:
- Check out the information on independent studies, honors theses, and other research opportunities by reviewing the Biology Undergraduate Education and IBES Undergraduate Education pages.
- Contact Tyler early in the process to identify research and training opportunities in the lab.
- Participate in our weekly lab meetings, even before research begins. This will give you insights into what the lab does, what opportunities may be available, and what research strategies are likely to succeed. The more time you spend with the lab, the more opportunities you will have.
- Develop a research proposal together with Tyler, which can be used to obtain research funding for internships, independent study credit, and thesis research. This is especially important if you are interested in field- or lab-based research. At Brown, relevant funding opportunities include the Voss Undergraduate Fellowship from IBES, Royce, UTRA, LINK (including international internships with our partners). If funding for independent research is not available, there may be occasional opportunities to participate in ongoing research led by postdocs and graduate students. Please ask.
- If planning to work in the molecular lab: complete the Lab Techniques Basic Skills Workshop and at Brown (relevant previous research experience may be demonstrated instead).
Equipment Use Policies
- Only use equipment that you have been trained to use. If new to the lab, or if running a new type of experiment, please check with senior members of the lab (i.e., Tyler, postdocs) before you begin. This will help ensure consistency within the lab.
- If you are using lab equipment and it breaks, or if you notice something not working properly, report it right away. Tyler can always offer feedback on the best course of action.
- The lights in the main lab are on a motion sensor and so you don't need to turn them off when leaving (in fact, you can't). However, the lights in the freezer room and post-PCR room are on a switch -- please do remember to turn them off whenever you leave.
- Major work stations can be reserved a day in advance. This includes, but is not limited to, the biosafety cabinet, the PCR cabinet, the thermocycler, and the gel station.
- The only official way to reserve equipment in advance is through the Lab's online calendar ("Kartzinel Wet Lab Schedule"); please do not assume you will have access to equipment unless you sign up in advance. (This calendar is organized and maintained by the current 'lab czar'.)
- For same-day use, equipment becomes 'first come, first served'. A person can announce their plans on the white board, or post a sticky, or get to work.
- Certain field equipment can be reserved. For extended use, for example on an international field trip, please ensure the equipment is reserved at least 2 weeks in advance.
- The golden rule still applies -- be kind and supportive to your teammates -- you should use the equipment when you sign up, avoid monopolizing the equipment to the exclusion of others, and consider yielding your reservation if another user has an urgent need.
Sample Labeling Policies
Sample inventory numbers
All samples entering the lab require a sample inventory number. This number will be used to track the samples physical location in the lab as well as any data that we generate from the sample. Again, this policy applies to ALL samples that come through the lab. This includes samples collected by (and even belonging to) our collaborators.
The requirement of keeping lab-wide inventory numbers does NOT mean that we will replace or overwrite any pre-existing sample identifications. Indeed, it would be a mistake to overwrite anything that is on a tube already -- especially tubes that come from our collaborators. It is possible for a sample to have an inventory number in addition to other forms of identification (physical names, sample IDs from collaborators, etc.)
Please note that it is possible to pre-label and pre-fill sample collection tubes or plates based on assigned inventory numbers (e.g., we do this routinely with zymo tubes).
To procure new inventory numbers:
- Log into our lab's Quartzy inventory (https://app.quartzy.com/login). If you need access, ask.
- Click “Inventory” and then filter to only show samples.
- You will see items with inventory numbers in the form of TK#######, where "#" corresponds to a sequential set of numbers that include leading zeros. (We have a long way to go before we run out of numbers with leading zeros, but can convert to an alphanumeric system when needed.) Determine the next available inventory number: the lowest number that has not been used.
- Create entries in Quartzy for the numbers that you will use for your samples so that no one else inadvertently uses the same set.
- Typically, you will know exactly how many numbers you need and you should only reserve this many (e.g., 50 for a batch of zymo tubes; the count of samples provided by a collaborator). Please try to avoid "guessing" if reserving sample inventory numbers in advance of collection.
- To create an entry in Quartzy, follow the instructions for downloading a template excel file and then uploading your additions.
- Check that your Quartzy entries were created properly, and ask for help if you are unsure.
To edit existing inventory numbers:
- When editing metadata pertaining to a sample in Quartzy, pay special attention to the difference between the "item name" column (i.e., the sample ID in our lab) and the "serial number" column (i.e., the number linked to each unique Quartzy entry).
- You must edit information about existing inventory numbers directly in the template -- do not upload new information about an existing sample using a different inventory number.
Please note that we are only using Quartzy for lab-wide inventories. That is, only to keep track of existing inventory numbers and their physical locations. Each project must develop a data management plan in consultation with Tyler -- all additional metadata and results must be archived according to this plan.
Types of sample containers
- Freezer boxes: ...
- 96-well plates: ... Place labeled plate inside freezer box or ziplock bag -- and label those as well -- to keep the exterior of your plates clean.
- Collection tubes (zymo tubes, cryo tubes, falcon tubes): ... If appropriate, these should be pre-labeled and pre-filled before collections begin (see policy on sample inventory).
- Sample tubes (snap-cap tubes): ...
Policy: Orders for general lab supplies will be made through our lab's Quartzy account. The lab member responsible for coordinating orders this year is Brian. Brian places standard orders on Friday, so please make sure all orders are approved and submitted by Friday morning.
Ordering process: First confirm with the PI that your standard order is approved (kits, reagents, field supplies). Then submit the request via Quartzy. Urgent and unusual orders require approval from the PI and will be submitted directly.
Delivery: All lab members are expected to check for deliveries in the IBES main office on a daily basis to help ensure packages arrive in the lab without delay. The person responsible for placing the orders will mark them as received in Quartzy and is responsible for making sure they are unpacked and put away. Cooperation is key to ensuring sensitive orders are handled appropriately (e.g., enzymes that must be kept in the -20).
Shipping DNA on dry ice may be necessary in some cases. Confer with Tyler for new types of shipments. This type of shipping requires pre-planning. Here is an overview of the steps involved.
- Dry ice shipments require an Environmental Health Safety (EHS) representative for packaging (lab members that do this very often may be trained as "authorized shippers").
- EHS appreciates an email 72 hours in advance to schedule packaging. Send this email to all three of the following individuals: Shannon Benjamin firstname.lastname@example.org, Linda Olmsted email@example.com, Linda Laporte firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Complete the EHS shipping form, a dry ice safety sheet, and a waybill from the shipper (FedEx, UPS, USPS; please compare prices). Please note that the EHS representative that packages the shipment must be listed as sender on the waybill.
- Dry ice can be obtained from BioMed stock room. They do not store large quantities of dry ice, so ensure that dry will available on the day of your shipment.
- Dry ice must be in a Styrofoam box, placed within a cardboard box. There should be little to no space between the styrofoam and cardboard boxes. Containers can be reused as long as they are in good condition and previous markings are covered.
- Prior to EHS arriving: weigh and record the weight of the box and dry ice separately (in kg); ensure all forms are complete; obtain clear packing tape but do not close the box prior to approval from EHS.
- Brown has a contract with International SOS for emergency international medical and travel assistance. Familiarize yourself with the policy and carry a membership card so you will be prepared to use this important resource at all times. Details: https://www.brown.edu/about/administration/insurance/international-travel-information