in the lab

—from the Researcher's bench

Should I stay, or should I go?

For most researchers, working in the lab over a holiday break is somewhat different from working in the lab during the rest of the year. For example, if an experiment has flexibly, it can be started or stopped when it's convenient for the researcher instead of planned around seminars, classes, and campus parking issues. In addition, some researchers take a vacation, adopt unconventional work hours, or hide in their office to work on a manuscript and only visit the lab to search for inspiration, a snack, or a temporary distraction.

Wearing Gloves?

You wear gloves at the bench for one of two reasons: Either to protect YOU from your experiment, or to protect your experiment from you. (Okay, sometimes it's both at the same time.) In any case, gloved hands should never touch your face, arms, skin, or cell phone.

You can wash and dry gloved hands (or use ethanol on them) to clean as needed. However, before you do, ask your research advisor for guidelines so you always make the safe choice. In some cases, it's better to discard the gloves and get a fresh pair.

21
Sep

How You Doin'?

— from the Researcher's bench

One of the reassuring things about taking an undergraduate lab course is knowing exactly what you need to do to earn the letter grade you want. For most instructional labs, you can calculate your grade at anytime to know whether or not you’re excelling, and opt for the extra credit assignments if needed.

28
Apr

Empty Bench Syndrome

— from the Researcher's bench

Here’s to all the undergrad research mentors who said goodbye to a great student this semester, and feel that little pang of sadness as they clear the bench for a new researcher who starts this summer.

Sometimes it's harder to say goodbye than it seems

Last week, an undergrad who spent three years in my lab finished her last experiment, and made the last update in her lab notebook. It was a bittersweet day.