As any lab should, UConn iGEM observes safety protocols to protect our work, our members, and the environment. Through training, monitoring, and organization we ensure that such safety standards are met.
Before stepping foot into lab, all members are required to take safety courses through UConn’s Environmental Health and Safety department including Biosafety and Chemical Waste Management. Safety practices are then reinforced during our student-led spring training sessions. This training gives students an opportunity to work with PPE and learn proper aseptic technique, both of which are necessary to ensure that students do not contaminate each other or their experiments. This training also ensures that they are familiar with the lab space, know where things belong, follow proper lab etiquette, and ensure that our lab space remains organized and clean.
To ensure items are in place at all times, we keep a detailed inventory on an online database. Since our database is virtual, we can actively update it. Any member can look up items and modify our inventory as needed.
When possible, we try to minimize exposure to hazardous chemicals and organisms in lab. For example, we have replaced EtBr with SYBR Safe and used IDT synthesized segments instead of isolating DNA from hazardous organisms such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
These precautions help keep our lab and its surroundings safe.