What You Need to Know When Starting a New Lab

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Whether you are fresh out of college, suffering from an industry burnout, or want to be your own boss, starting a lab is a huge step in your medical career. However, setting up a new lab can be overwhelming, as you require a strategic plan to achieve and achieve success. Read on for five things you need to know when setting up a new laboratory.

Defining the function of the new lab is crucial

Before you start purchasing lab equipment or hiring personnel, you should be clear about the purpose of your lab. Is your lab for teaching purposes or research? 

The lab equipment should match your needs

Once you have established the purpose of your lab, you should start procuring the appropriate equipment. The lab equipment varies depending on your research needs. Here is a list of equipment every laboratory should have based on specific needs:

General equipment

  • Gloves 
  • Stir bars
  • Bunsen burners
  • Gloves
  • Tubes
  • Pipettes
  • Racks
  • Labels and printers

Cell culture

  • Tabletop cooling centrifuge
  • Cell freezing containers
  • Water bath
  • CO2 incubators
  • Cell counter
  • Cryovials with cryogenic labels.
  • Petri flasks and dishes
  • Laminar flow hoods

Molecular biology

  • PCR system
  • Microplate reader
  • Flow cytometer
  • Fluorescence microscope
  • Analytical lab balance
  • Heat block
  • Centrifuges 
  • Ultra-low temperature freezers

The lab layout determines efficiency

How you design your lab significantly impacts efficiency and safety, so you need to get the space right. An ideal lab layout should maximize the available space, encourage collaboration, and cater to your team’s needs.

Consider separating your space into different zones based on the type and degree of hazards, then plan accordingly. Start by determining appropriate storage for lab chemicals and gasses to prevent dangerous fume hoods. An area predicted to be a highly hazardous zone of peril should not be a location expected to host heavy human traffic. Be sure to place commonly used lab equipment in easily accessible areas away from heavy traffic locations. You should also develop a separate site for the lab staff and other public members to avoid collisions or bumping into each other.

You require accreditation 

Your new laboratory needs accreditation to become a trusted entity in the research community. There are two forms of certification, including;

Business accreditation

To start running a lab in a specific location, you need to register as a business with the state and file for licensing. With that being said, naming your business is a crucial part of registering your lab as a business. Research your business name to ascertain that it is available to avoid infringing on another entity’s name.

Lab accreditation

Once you have successfully registered your business with the state, you need to get lab-specific accreditations. Lab accreditations are dependent on your niche, specific laboratory, and the services you intend to offer. Reach out to a lab consultant for recommendations to the best accreditations based on your needs.  

Safety is key

Ensuring safety is of utmost importance when setting up a new lab. To guarantee lab safety, you should: 

  • Ensure your team undergoes mandatory training on possible lab hazards, proper safety procedures, and protocols
  • Equip your lab with safety equipment, including first-aid kits, fire extinguishers and blankets, gloves, and emergency showers
  • Restrict entry of unauthorized personnel 
  • Install more than one exit in readiness for emergencies

Endnote

Setting up a new lab can be a remarkable journey with incredible payoff. Familiarize yourself with the above factors to get started on your path.