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Need the Incubator That a Labmate is Using?

Need the Incubator That a Labmate is Using?

Someone ruining or needlessly complicating a labmate's experiment is the third most common complaint people tell us about their labmates. (And it doesn't matter much to the inconvenienced researcher if the labmate believed that they were being helpful.)

No matter how helpful you think it will be don’t move or adjust anything to do with labmate's experiment without asking. Even though you might be trying to do someone a favor you could actually mess up their experiment--more than you could possibly know. You could set a labmate back days or weeks in an experiment simply by trying to help but making the wrong call. In a lab, it is definitely not the thought that counts.

For example, don't turn off a labmate's timer no matter how annoying the beeping is, and don't remove their cultures from an incubator even if you believe they have reached stationary.

In addition, it's important that you don't change the parameters of a labmate's experiment simply because you need a piece of equipment they are using. For example, don't adjust the shaker speed or incubator temperature so you can do your experiment, and don't remove their protein dialysis from the stir plate even if it was left there overnight. If their experiment was there first you should wait until it's your turn.

Even if you need a piece of equipment and it looks like someone's experiment is done, your options are to text, email, call, or wait. If you don't receive a response--then wait some more. It's really that simple.

It is always better to do nothing if you don't have the okay first!

Never assume that you know what is best for a labmate's experiment because chances are that you don't.