Showing posts with the label working in a lab

Why do scientists work in strange cabinets...?

Scientific laboratories are often surrounded by strange cabinets or 'hoods' which researchers work in...but why?  *please note I was approached to post this blog post and there is a disclaimer at the bottom*  Image from genencor_14 on Flickr I worked under a hood when working with my cell cultures  during my PhD in order to keep the cells sterile and avoid contamination and infection of the cells.  Their history These sophisticated systems were initially developed for the aerospace industry in order to control dust contamination that could negatively impact on the reliability and precision of parts. Microbiologists did not take long to switch onto the benefits associated with the technology. A 1967 scientific paper notes, experts in the field had long been seeking ways to control contamination. In their piece, which was published in the journal of the American Society for Microbiology, Martin Favero and Kenneth Berquist stated: “For many years microbiolo

Why Good Biologists are Better Than Sherlock

Me, pretending to be Sherlock with my 'critical thinking' hat on Sherlock Holmes is famous for his ability to apply logical reasoning. His amazing ability to watch, to observe, to put two and two together and make a conclusion. A critical thinker, his theories are not wild and are only based on fact. He studies, finds ways to find and gather all the information he can.. and then boom, hits everyone with the name of the culprit.  My argument, is that a good biologist (actually, any good scientist) needs to be at least as good as Sherlock to perform, and if they want to be really successful they have to be better.

Things I wish I had known when I started my PhD

I am entering the final stretch of my PhD and here is a list of things that I wish I had known (or things I wish someone would have told me) when I started my PhD...

Lab Politics and Post-it Notes (Not quite I Lick My Cheese)

In a shared house or flat, notes are often left to pass on information, claim ownership, or discourage others from eating your food (see I Lick My Cheese , a brilliant book). In a communal lab, notes are also left to offer instructions as to how the lab should run, pass on info, claim ownership and discourage others from nicking your stuff. I use a communal tissue culture lab where most people use the lab for limited amounts of time (30mins or so) to culture their cells and then they go elsewhere to do their experiments. My experiments involve me spending longer periods of time in the tissue culture hood (HOURS). On my own. It is mind numbingly boring. So we introduced a radio. A lot of labs have radios, this is not unusual (the lab next door has a radio, usually on so loud that we can hear the bass thudding through the wall, 'the party lab'). I didn't think it was a big deal, everyone in the tissue culture lab is pretty friendly and says hello to each other. The proto