At the Bench Series

Am cross cutting between the bench and the computer. My mentor and supervisor has given me an excellent book called At the Bench: A  laboratory Navigator by Kathy Barker. It is an exciting read for anyone who plans to use a biomedical research laboratory and I thought, Why not share some of the gems as  I read along:

Basic Survival

Simple lab courtesy is a nice way of maintaining healthy working relationship with your fellow lab rats, in this rat race! What Kathy says sounds real trouble but i think and you will probably agree, its basic common sense.


  • Ask, do not command.
  • Assume nothing
  • Write down everything when given instructions
  • Make appointments or request time with people
  • Do not remove journals from the Departmental library
  • Do not discuss a fellow lab rat’s  results with people not in the lab

Courtesy at the Bench

  • Never use reagents or buffers without permission
  • Do not ignore broken equipments
  • Order common reagents if they are running low
  • Do not move things around or change locations of any tubes reagents or equipment.(This is not ya damn bedroom!)
  • Do not leave anything anywhere
  • If you do something wrong, confess (I wonder whether there is purgatory :))
  • Clean up immediately after an experiment
  • Request the minimum of favors( fellow lab rats are not working for you)

Like all complex organizations, each research lab has its own culture and rules. the rules are largely unspoken and may not be written down. You are expected to know how to work with the equipment or referred to the manual.  You are required to decipher the vague signs and complex language to understand the rhythm and beat of the lab.  Kathy does a great job in  introducing the naive to the workbench  in this book.

All the best dear friend.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s