Prince:Prince Lab Practices

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Lab Etiquette

  1. Glassware should always be restored to cleanliness after use. If you use a beaker for some purpose, wash it and hang it to dry. If you store tips or trash in it, empty it and clean it before you consider your work done.
  2. Benches are to be left clean and dry before you leave the lab.
  3. Leave centrifuges clean. The centrifuge often has a residue left from solutions which have gotten on it. This seems remarkable in that you should be concerned for your analysis if you are leaving solution in the centrifuge. Also, it bears mentioning that pipetting solutions into tubes in the centrifuge is lazy, but understandable for efficiency. What is not understandable is that you would ever miss while pipetting solutions into a tube and not be concerned for the success of your analysis. Never get the centrifuge dirty, but if you do, clean it up before you leave the lab.
  4. Keep samples organized. Portable racks are not for storage, they are for working with samples. If you have left samples in storage in a portable rack, please make use of the freezer boxes. Write on tape instead of the box, and keep all of your samples in the same spot. Any loose items that need to be in the fridge should be placed in a box, like you see exemplified currently in the fridge. The box demonstrating can be had for free from the stockroom.
  5. Be careful in how you use other people's supplies. These are other people's supplies because they are located in a drawer or on a counter by someone other than yourself. If you use other people's supplies, you are responsible for returning them to the state in which you found them. If, for some reason, that isn't tightly closed/zipped/taped shut... assume that someone else has been irresponsible and rectify the situation. All clean tubes should remain clean by staying shut at all times. Gloves are to be worn at all times when handling anything in the wet lab. Never re-position or move or take anything which has been placed at someone's workstation. If you are going to use it fine, but return it before you finish your work for the day.
  6. Don't take the glove boxes from someone else. Gloves are available in the stockroom. Sure, go grab a pair of gloves, but do not move the box.
  7. Create your own workstation. If you find that you are sick of going to anyone's workstation to steal their supplies, you should consider if you should be stealing their supplies. In fact, this is really the best model. Find a set of drawers, talk to a senior lab member, and lay claim to a work station. We can get you most everything you need to work from the stockroom. Then, you won't need to steal others supplies, and you can become a cleanliness and "don't destroy my work area" fanatic, too.
  8. If it is getting low, you should order more. If something is running out or is low, you NEED to address it. That means you should go and get more from the stockroom. If it isn't it the stockroom, be responsible and tell someone. Often, we require an inventory of supplies which, if exhausted, halts the work of the lab completely. Sometimes, things are on back order and take more than a month to get once ordered. Don't do that to us.
  9. All samples for the MS are to be kept very, very, very clean. We cannot accomplish that if we don't have a clean lab. It is vital that the sample vials, filters, and solvents for MS prep are kept as clean as physically possible. That means that they should never be left open for any amount of time. All MS prep work should be performed in the laminar flow hoods, unless another reason precludes. These hoods are to be kept absolutely clean from any of your samples or items.
  10. All chemicals need to be returned to their appropriate storage locations. This is an important principle to grasp, and if you have any questions, it is important, so ask. Hopefully, this should mean that you put the chemical back where you found it. Ask a senior lab member if you have particular questions.
  11. NEVER leave tip boxes open (should go without saying).

All together, if we all will follow these practices, we will have better science and be more efficient. Some steps will require a little investment up front, but will most assuredly lead to better practices and happier colleagues.

Publication Practices

  • Create all figures in vector format (svg preferred) if possible.
  • Use bitbucket to version control your document. Things get really complex really fast when you have multiple people editing your document and you have multiple versions for different journals, for review, and for publication.
  • Use latex (preferred) or .odt (libreoffice) formats to write your paper. .doc and .docx are discouraged.