Undergraduate Lab Tasks

WEEKLY Lab Tasks

  • Wipe benches. Use 70% ethanol and a paper towel to wipe and clean all the benches in the lab.

  • Clean the area near the analytical balance where chemicals weighed out. Use 70% ethanol on a paper towel to gather specks of chemicals. Clean the inside of the balance and the area outside of it. Do not just brush powders onto the floor! Brush powders into a trash can.

  • Clean/tidy up the gel area. This involves emptying waste containers of pipette tips into the sharps' containers (blue, "broken glass" cardboard box for non-biohazard tips). Refer to "Sharps and Laboratory Glass Disposal" poster for more information.

  • Take care of general lab waste in waste containers. There are "Waste" and "Liquid Waste" plastic containers on benches. "Waste" containers will be in boxes (pipette tips). These will be disposed of in an autoclave bag which is then placed in the MERI bin on the loading dock. "Liquid Waste" containers need to be placed in the sink with the addition of a little bit of bleach. Let the bleach and waste soak for at least 30 minutes, empty it out in the sink, rinse with distilled water (right-most faucet at the sink), and place it on the drying pads for washing through the glass washer machine.

  • Biohazard bag decontamination. There are several red containers around the lab with autoclave bags in them. When these are ~75% full, take out the autoclave bag and tie it closed. Use lab tape to ensure it stays closed. Make sure the bags are labeled with our lab name and then place the bag in the MERI bin on the loading dock.

  • Glass washing and autoclaving. This is very important. Refer to Glass/Plastic Washing and Autoclave Operation for instructions.

  • Cleaning equipment. Wipe equipment in the lab with a Kimwipe lightly sprayed with 70% ethanol. This includes the analytical balance, heat block, microcentrifuges (outside and inside the machine), microscope glass bottom, Qubit exterior, and thermal cycler exteriors. Be gentle and do not spray ethanol directly onto any electronics or equipment - remember these are very expensive machines and we want them to last a long time.

  • Clean microscope lenses. Spray Sparkle (purple glass cleaner) on a Kimwipe and gently wipe the lenses of all of the microscopes (in both Rooms 223 and 229).

  • Refilling bleach/ethanol spray bottles. 10% bleach and 70% ethanol bottles need to be refilled. For bleach bottles, add 900 mL of distilled water (right-most faucet at the sink in Room 223) and 100 mL of Clorox bleach (located under the sink). For ethanol bottles, add 1000 mL of 70% ethanol. Check the bottles weekly to ensure all bottles are filled.

  • Preparing powder mixes for NGM and HGM plates. Measure out 1 L and 2 L amounts of dry ingredients for pouring NGM/HGM plates. Check to make sure all bottles have dry ingredients. Follow the Plate Pouring: NGM/HGM Plates recipe. Place bottles on the shelf.

  • Pouring worm plates. This is an important part of our lab pipeline. We must always have enough plates poured, dried, seeded with bacteria, and ready for worms in order to execute our experiments. Refer to Plate Pouring: NGM/HGM Plates for instructions.

  • LB-AMP-Xgal-IPTG plates. Pour one sleeve of 10 cm plates following the recipe in General Lab Recipes. Place them in the 4°C in Room 230.

    • X-gal stocks (50 mg/mL) recipe: Weigh 1 g of X-gal (MW: 408.64 g/mol) and dilute it in 20 mL of DMSO. Aliquot in 1 mL volumes into 1.5 mL tubes (makes 20).

    • IPTG stocks (100 mM) recipe: Weigh 5 g IPTG (MW: 238.31 g/mol) and dilute it in 210 mL distilled water. Aliquot in 10 mL volumes into 15 mL conical tubes (makes 21).


  • 15/20°C C. elegans incubators. Wipe the interior of the incubator with 70% ethanol an a paper towel.

  • Plate pouring reagents and buffers. Cholesterol, potassium phosphate, calcium chloride, magnesium sulfate, etc. Follow instructions in C. elegans Recipes.

  • Pipette tip/consumables pipeline. Pipette tips and 1.5 mL tubes need to be autoclaved before use. Use the rack refill system and empty pipette tip boxes (Room 235) to re-rack pipette tips. Place 1.5 mL tubes in a larger empty tip box. Label boxes with a sharpie as being designated for 1.5 mL tubes. Autoclave for 60 min.


Task Member Responsible
Wipe benches and analytical balance area Gabi
Clean equipment and microscopes Gabi
Lab Waste (biohazard/sharps/tips/trash) Zach/?
Glass washing and autoclaving Nic/Elena
NGM dry mix preparation Nic/Elena
NGM plate pouring and seeding Gabi
LB-AMP-Xgal-IPTG plate pouring Gabi
LB liquid media Gabi
Ethanol/bleach spray bottle refill Gabi
C. elegans incubator cleaning Kendra/?
Plate pouring, buffers, and reagents refill Gabi
Pipette refills and autoclaving Zach/?
1.5 mL tube refill and autoclaving Zach/?
Cartons for mosquito infections Gabi
Needles for mosquito injections Zach