McClean: Lab Rules

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This is a working document outlining the rules of the McClean Lab. Please add to it and edit as necessary. Changes should be discussed at the McClean Lab group meetings.

General Rules

  • Label, label, label. There shouldn’t be any chemical or solution in the lab without a label.
  • Keep common areas clean. Especially the balance area, fume hood, and microscope area. As a general rule of thumb, wipe down any area you use with water and 70% EtOH when you are done using it.
  • Don’t put tube racks in the fridges or freezers. You are asking for a disaster. We have more cardboard tube boxes than we will ever use. Use a box. Use two. Just label it and box it.

Bench Rules

Every bench should be equipped with the following (if you are missing something, please talk to Megan):

  • 70% EtOH for sterilizing your space (in a squeeze or spray bottle)
  • Sterile water for washing your bench (in a squeeze or spray bottle)
  • A timer
  • An alcohol burner
  • A set of pipettes ranging for 0.5ul to 1ml
  • A paper lab notebook (the big brown composition books, everyone must use the same notebook)
  • A tape color that is yours. When you run out of your color, request more on Quartzy and Megan will order it. Use this tape to label all of your stuff, reagents, boxes, etc.

Reagent Rules


The following is a list of items that you should NOT share. It is important that you are able to have complete faith in your reagents and equipment. For that reason, the following items should be kept as “no share” items. That means that they are yours, you can expect that you are the only person who has touched them, and any use/borrowing by other members requires your explicit permission. Obviously, there will occasionally be reasons to borrow reagents and or bench space (large experiments requiring a bit of extra room, testing someone’s working reagent against your own, etc). This needs to be worked out with the lab member whose property you are borrowing.

    • Your space consists of your bench, the top drawer of your cabinet, and a shelf for your reagents.
    • Do not take items from another member’s benchtop, the top drawer of their cabinet, or the shelf above their bench without asking.
  • Pipettes
    • Contamination and incorrect calibration (from drops, etc) can cause weeks of wasted time and troubleshooting. Your pipettes are yours. No one else should ever touch them.
  • Pipette tips
    • Once you open a box, it’s yours. This way you know it’s sterile, and if it’s not sterile, it’s your fault.
  • Boxes in the -80C, -20C, 4C
    • If you put a box in any of the above spaces (label it with your name, e.g. Megan McClean -20C Box #1) it’s yours. No one else should ever go searching through it. You are responsible for keeping it organized however, and I suggest that you maintain a spreadsheet detailing what is in your cold storage boxes.
  • Your -20C small Nalgene cooler
    • If you are doing a lot of PCR or RE digests you should get your own Nalgene cooler (talk to Megan). This is for storing polymerase, PCR buffer and DNTPs, and other enzymes ONLY (all other items don’t need to be in an insulated box, they can go in a normal freezer box).
  • I would highly recommend that you keep the following reagents on your bench or in another location that is yours and yours along and don’t share them. I’m sure that I’m missing things. As a general rule of thumb, try to keep as many or your reagents under your complete control as possible. That makes it much easier to track down problems if and when you have them. Really the only exceptions are things that are expensive or infrequently used and thus need to be shared (antibodies, some FISH probes, restriction enzymes, etc)
    • Sterile, autoclaved MiliQ water
    • Any solid or liquid media (LB, YPD, etc)
    • 40% glucose
    • 30% glycerol for freezing yeast
    • Bacterial glycerol for freezing bacteria
    • Sterile toothpicks and punches
    • Polymerase
    • PEG and LiAC for transformations
    • TE for diluting primers
    • PCR buffers
    • dNTPs
    • Sterile Eppendorf tubes
    • Sterile glass beads
    • Sterile PCR tubes


  • EasyPets
  • Centrifuges
  • Multi-channel pipettes
  • All large lab equipment (microscopes, centrifuges, hoods, freezers, incubators, etc)
  • Qiagen Kits
  • Drugs (carb, kanamycin, etc)
  • ssDNA