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Starting Life in the Lab Dr. Gail P. Taylor 08/20/2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Starting Life in the Lab Dr. Gail P. Taylor 08/20/2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Starting Life in the Lab Dr. Gail P. Taylor 08/20/2012

2 References At the Bench: A Laboratory Navigator. Kathy Barker. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press At the Bench: A Laboratory Navigator. Kathy Barker. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Personal Experience Personal Experience

3 On the Job Training Sink or Swim? Sink or Swim? Common to feel like fish out of water Common to feel like fish out of water DO NOT FREAK OUT! DO NOT FREAK OUT! Learn by Osmosis…or attend this lecture… Learn by Osmosis…or attend this lecture… Important to know… Important to know… Who is in the lab Who is in the lab What to wear What to wear Who will teach you Who will teach you Ethical behavior Ethical behavior What to ask What to ask How do you “fit in” How do you “fit in” How NOT to annoy people How NOT to annoy people How you will be evaluated…. How you will be evaluated….

4 Who is in the Lab? The Principal Investigator (P.I.) The Principal Investigator (P.I.) Research Scientists Research Scientists Technicians (never annoy them) Technicians (never annoy them) Postdocs Postdocs Graduate students Graduate students M.S. (UTSA graduate “means” M.S.) M.S. (UTSA graduate “means” M.S.) Ph.D. Ph.D. Undergraduate students Undergraduate students

5 Safety No eating, drinking, smoking in lab No eating, drinking, smoking in lab Wear lab coats as needed Wear lab coats as needed In lab – remove when leave lab In lab – remove when leave lab Wear long pants/sleeves and closed shoes Wear long pants/sleeves and closed shoes Natural fibers preferred (fire) Natural fibers preferred (fire) Wear gloves when handling chemicals Wear gloves when handling chemicals Note Biohazard or Radioactive signs… Note Biohazard or Radioactive signs… Food must NOT be in research fridge Food must NOT be in research fridge

6 Things to ask about Dress practices for that lab (avoid synthetics!) Dress practices for that lab (avoid synthetics!) Time others are in the lab Time others are in the lab Time your trainer will be in the lab (course time?) Time your trainer will be in the lab (course time?) Eating areas and food storage Eating areas and food storage Computer use policies Computer use policies Chemicals: location, who makes stock solutions, pH measurement, weighing conventions, ordering Chemicals: location, who makes stock solutions, pH measurement, weighing conventions, ordering Trash disposal: sharps, biohazard, recyclables, glass Trash disposal: sharps, biohazard, recyclables, glass Glassware policies: where found, washing, autoclaving Glassware policies: where found, washing, autoclaving Laboratory coats: required, provided, cleaning Laboratory coats: required, provided, cleaning Lab notebook: provided, format, copies, non-removal Lab notebook: provided, format, copies, non-removal Photocopying and printing Photocopying and printing

7 Laboratory Instruction Some done by observation Some done by observation Generally a laboratory member will instruct Generally a laboratory member will instruct Take detailed notes!!!! Take detailed notes!!!! Names Names Equipment settings Equipment settings Incubation times and temps Incubation times and temps Locations of chemicals and reagents Locations of chemicals and reagents Instructions Instructions Ask questions during instruction times Ask questions during instruction times Be polite about subsequently interrupting Be polite about subsequently interrupting Do NOT mess up by not asking question Do NOT mess up by not asking question

8 Things to Do Early On Read papers that you are given Read papers that you are given Cooperate with university requirements Cooperate with university requirements Laboratory/radiation safety courses Laboratory/radiation safety courses Animal care and use Animal care and use Learn what is expected of you Learn what is expected of you Learn techniques Learn techniques Do an experiment Do an experiment Learn the “Unwritten Laboratory Rules” Learn the “Unwritten Laboratory Rules”

9 Intro to Laboratory Ethics Never make up or “fudge” data Never make up or “fudge” data Even if you make mistake Even if you make mistake Even if mentor is annoyed Even if mentor is annoyed Even if you feel pressured Even if you feel pressured Always record ALL data and experiments Always record ALL data and experiments Let your work be your own Let your work be your own Plagiarism Plagiarism Referencing Referencing Never mislead mentor Never mislead mentor Maintain strong notebook Maintain strong notebook

10 How to Annoy People I Work fewer hours than expected Work fewer hours than expected No-show appointments for training No-show appointments for training Leave lab with unfinished experiments Leave lab with unfinished experiments Leave a mess or stuff on benches or in sink Leave a mess or stuff on benches or in sink Command anybody to do something for you Command anybody to do something for you Use someone’s pipettors, buffers, reagents (chemicals) without permission Use someone’s pipettors, buffers, reagents (chemicals) without permission Move common use chemicals/reagents/equipment Move common use chemicals/reagents/equipment Use a solution or chemical up and don’t tell Use a solution or chemical up and don’t tell “Hide” mistakes and things you break “Hide” mistakes and things you break

11 How to Annoy People II Ignore alarms (turn off but tell someone) or broken equipment Ignore alarms (turn off but tell someone) or broken equipment Be noisy on phone, or phone rings all the time Be noisy on phone, or phone rings all the time Ignore sign-up sheets for common equipment Ignore sign-up sheets for common equipment Be loud, engage in horseplay, when others are trying to focus Be loud, engage in horseplay, when others are trying to focus Use lab copiers for homework Use lab copiers for homework Read a novel, newspaper, do homework (?), or play a computer game in the lab (read sci papers!) Read a novel, newspaper, do homework (?), or play a computer game in the lab (read sci papers!) Keep comparing this lab to a prior one Keep comparing this lab to a prior one Skip laboratory meetings Skip laboratory meetings

12 Fitting In You are a part of laboratory family You are a part of laboratory family Participate in laboratory socialization Participate in laboratory socialization Tea Tea Coffee Coffee Sports Sports Complete laboratory responsibilities Complete laboratory responsibilities You may have a job to do in lab You may have a job to do in lab

13 Societal Microcosm Variable levels of maturity Variable levels of maturity Variable strengths Variable strengths Variable social skills Variable social skills Variable insecurities Variable insecurities Your goal: Your goal: To be mature and hardworking To be mature and hardworking Key: Communication! Key: Communication!

14 What Your Mentor is Looking for: (What do you want on LOR for Grad School) (What do you want on LOR for Grad School) Excitement about research Excitement about research Honest Honest Hard Working Hard Working Teachable Teachable Learns from mistakes Learns from mistakes Reacts positively to failure Reacts positively to failure Thinking, not just performing (Ideas!) Thinking, not just performing (Ideas!) Digging into literature Digging into literature Problem solving Problem solving Thinking of the next experiment Thinking of the next experiment Maturity Maturity

15 Rewards for UG Research! Greatly enriched science education Greatly enriched science education Insight into career Insight into career New friends and network (letters) New friends and network (letters) Preparation for attending doctoral program Preparation for attending doctoral program Career training Career training


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