@RIPLRT Guidelines for Performing Experiments
As stated in our parent website (https://www.riplrt.com), RIPLRT highly values excellence, integrity, productivity, and reproducibility in our scientific endeavors. Also, safety-is-first. For these reasons, prepare yourself before doing any experiment, be organized during experimentation, and be meticulous in your documentation. Find below guidelines to help you accomplish excellence, integrity, productivity, and reproducibility within the RIPLRT.
Before performing an experiment, make sure
- you have been assigned to perform the corresponding experiment.
- you have the corresponding permissions if, for example, working with human samples.
- you have planned the experiment (see below for more details).
- that the necessary materials, supplies, and reagents are available by revising the inventory, and the required equipment is working.
Planning the Experiment
- Avoid performing an experiment just for performing it: always have a purpose and/or question linked to the experiment.
- It is recommended that you draw the main steps of the experiment to help you visualize what you will need and what-to-do-when.
- Calculate the amount of the reagents and consumables you will use. RIPLRT implements strict inventory controls.
- Make sure your agenda will allow you the necessary time to complete a step, or series of steps, related to the experiment(s).
- We have Standard Operational Procedures (SOPs) for some steps and for using some of our equipment:
- Have written down in the hard-copy of your lab notebook or your electronic notebook instance (in Researchspace) the steps that will be performed, including its corresponding volume, equipment and consumables to be used.
Just before and during the experiment(s)
- If preparing new solutions, make sure to calibrate the pH meter (A.K.A Dr. Meter). Refer to the SOP folder in the Team Drive for Dr. Meter's manual, and also how to adjust pH with acid or base.
- Revise the equipment and the working area: make sure they are working and are clean (if they are not, please inform Dr. Rivera-Mariani).
- Clean your working area with disinfectant (in the case of working stations); with detergent (Liquinox) solutions in the case of the biological cabinet.
- Make sure the reagents to be used, and samples to be analyzed, are at room temperature.
- Make aliquots of reagents, especially the temperature-sensitive ones, to avoid exposing them to many thawing cycles.
- Be organized: a) have all reagents to be used handy b) always hold samples with the non-dominant hand and pipettes (or similarly small equipment) with the dominant
- Always label everything even if a reagent, sample, or consumable will be used only once.
- Be very cautious when labeling: always triple-check that we labelled correctly.
- Take advantage of time management during experimentation: if a step runs, for example, for 1 hour, take advantage of that time and annotate in lab notebook observations, changes, or troubleshooting performed. That waiting time is also useful for preparing for the next steps.
- If there are results within experimental steps, make sure to annotate them immediately: don't wait to the end of the experiment (we may forget)
After completing experiment(s)
- Clean your working area: we do not want to increase the chance of contamination for other experiments.
- Make sure you have annotated in your physical lab notebook and the electronic notebook in Researchspace.
- Make sure to turn off the centrifuge and put the pipettes back into their holders.
- Don't forget to close the lab if no one else is in the lab.