To ensure that the team maintains safety standards we have tried out several things We have ensured that we wear all the safety gears like lab coats, gloves, lab shoes etc. that are necessary for a safe working environment in a microbiology lab. In addition to this we also have the facility of a biosafety level 1 and 2 cabinets in our college laboratory as well as proper facility for discarding microbiological waste.
Safety training sessionsBefore beginning the work we had 3 training sessions conducted for the team members by our instructors Mugdha Kulkarni and Sachin Rajagopalan. The First session highlighted Chemical Safety Precautions The session conducted discussed aspects of prevention of chemical hazards, their use and disposal along with a brief discussion on softwares like GROS and MSDS documents. The second session highlighted Biohazards The session engaged the students in all aspects of the hazards and precautions required to be taken in undergraduate microbiology lab, which included tests and activities. Session 3 was a quiz on general lab safety along with chemical safety and biohazards wherein the points of working with pathogenic agents, their virulence factors and the potential risks encountered were touched upon. The winners were rewarded with chocolates!
Violation FeeOur PI introduced us to the concept of violation fine! We had fines such as one hand violation - in case we wear only one glove or touch our glove to objects outside the lab. Similarly if we touched both gloves or did not wear gloves at all we had a two hand violation fee! We sure raised quite an amount at the beginning of our work but we are proud to say that there were no credits added to the fine funds later on.
Our product is such that it will be exposed to largely populated areas of the country. Product safety requires it to be free of GMOs according to most of the safety standards provided by the government. Keeping in mind the scope of application of our product we have incorporated a kill switch in our design. The design is such that as soon as the organism escapes the environment containing arabinose (which will be present in our formulation) the kill switch will be triggered and the DpnC enzymes will shred the DNA of our organism. Which will take care that even the DNA of the organism is not left behind in the environment avoiding any dangers of horizontal gene transfer will be avoided. In addition to this, since we have Pbad as a regulator of our killing enzyme and the breakdown products of our substrate includes glucose, the breakdown of our substrate will eventually lead to the activation of kill switch. Which means that the organism shall die sooner or later after the degradation of the stains