While many are having a rough time throughout the world, we thought one of the best ways to lighten the mood for those stuck at home would be to repeat our much-loved Lab Fails Contest. Remember, not only do all the lucky winners receive a LabTAG DNA plushy, but they also have the distinction of having one of the worst (and best!) lab fails of the year. Here to brighten you day are the best lab fails of 2020.
There are many ways to label samples in the lab, though some of these may not be particularly efficient. Here, we’ll review these labeling pitfalls and provide tips to remedy them, which will make your lab more productive and organized.
Though scientists are exceptionally smart and resourceful people, they aren’t always the neatest. I’ve walked into many labs where the area around the weigh scale is littered with unidentified powdery substances and the sink is full of unwashed labware. Unfortunately, cleanliness is extremely important in the lab, as chemicals and microorganisms can quickly contaminate freezers, benches, and incubators if not kept properly cleaned, making the lab a potential danger for both you and your samples.
Employing mammalian cell lines is crucial in life science research, especially with new, more relevant models of disease engineered with induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Here, we’ve come up with some basic tips to help culture cell lines, regardless of their source.
Everyone’s had their run-ins with contamination in the lab. There are two main types of contamination—biological (bacteria or fungi) and chemical—both of which can easily ruin your day, making cell cultures unusable and skewing your experimental results. Below, we’ll review many of the ways you can avoid spreading contamination throughout your lab.
Working in the lab can be both creatively inspiring, allowing you the ultimate freedom to plan, execute, and test your own experimental theories, and extraordinarily restrictive. Lab space is always an issue, especially for small labs that use large equipment, such as HPLC machines and mass spectrometers.
Our previous Top 10 Lab Fails Contest was such a hit that we decided to bring it back, just in time for Halloween. This time around, we collected 10 of the SCARIEST lab horror stories around, from ghosts hidden in western blots to actual, real-life body parts! Without any further ado, here are your top 10 lab horror stories:
When working in a lab, you should be as clear as possible with the person you’re communicating with, whether it’s the undergraduate student you’re mentoring or the editors of the journal you wish to publish in. Unfortunately, performing experiments alone on a day-to-day basis isn’t the greatest way to improve your communication skills. Here are several ways we, as scientists, can refine them:
Lab security is critical no matter what kind of lab you work in. Medical labs need to keep patient identities confidential, while pharmaceutical labs and clinical trials face potential risks of theft or tampering. Even academic labs work with sensitive samples that need to be properly secured. Here, we’ll review some of the ways you can safeguard your samples and data from being meddled with by outside parties.
When working in a lab, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by excessive workloads. Clinical labs are regularly inundated with patient specimens, while biomedical research often requires large-scale experiments involving hundreds to thousands of samples, with multiple steps per assay. Here are some tips to help you cope with high-volume assignments as well as the stress that can come with them.