Commitment to Safety
Tufts Synthetic Biology promotes health, safety, and environmental protection in teaching, research, and public service by working closely with Tufts Environmental Health and Safety (TEHS) to ensure all members receive necessary training. TEHS provides leadership in developing and supporting high quality programs that allow our students to protect themselves from potential health hazards they could encounter. Tufts Synthetic Biology focuses on working with biological materials in a way that is safe for both researchers and the environment. In all cases, the researcher, lecturer, or third party is consciously aware of potential hazardous effects and has all necessary knowledge to do so safely, while meeting applicable laws and regulations.
Local Rules and Regulations
The project was completed on the Tufts University Medford campus, overseen by the Tufts Office of Environmental Health and Safety (Tufts EH & S) and the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC). The biosafety guidelines of our institution can be found at the following link: https://publicsafety.tufts.edu/ehs/laboratory-safety/ We submitted an IBC form to alert the University of the project we were pursuing, the location of our labs, and all the relevant details of how we would carry out the research. Our lab was inspected and the project was approved. All of our team members have received and passed the Biosafety in Research Laboratories training.
Project Risks to the Researcher, Public and Environment
Since we were working with only DNA, RNA, in-vitro translation kits, and in-vitro transcription kits, few reagents posed any danger to researchers or anyone in the facility overall. As we used some ethidium bromide for gel staining early on, we were careful to use gloves when preparing it, and disposed of gels in a sealed liquid waste bucket. Later on we modified the protocols for gel electrophoresis to use SYBR-Safe, which is a non-carcinogenic DNA stain. Aside from that, we worked with e-coli in the interlab study and made sure to handle the bacteria with gloves and dispose of any waste in bio-hazardous waste containers.