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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. 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. Empty 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. There are "Waste" and "Liquid Waste" plastic containers on benches. "Waste" containers will be in boxes (pipette tips). These should be disposed of in an autoclave bag and 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. Label the bag 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 heat block, microcentrifuges (outside and inside the machine), microscope glass stages, 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 Rooms 223, 229, and 230).

  • 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 in RRoom 223.

  • 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 235.

    • 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 1 mL 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.

  • 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 All
Clean equipment and microscopes All
Lab Waste (biohazard/sharps/tips/trash) Chris
Glass washing and autoclaving Zane
NGM dry mix preparation Zamzam
NGM plate pouring and seeding Zane
LB-AMP-Xgal-IPTG plate pouring Zane
LB liquid media Zane
Ethanol/bleach spray bottle refill Sydney
C. elegans incubator cleaning Kendra/Kathy
Plate pouring, buffers, and reagents refill Zane
Pipette tip refills and autoclaving Zane
1.5 mL tube refill and autoclaving Zane
Cartons for mosquito infections Zane
Needles for mosquito injections NA