Op-Ed, Opinion

OP-ED: The Etiquette of a Laboratory for Life Sciences

Op-Eds do not reflect the editorial opinion of The Daily Free Press. They are solely the opinion of the author.

I am Rick Yoo, a neuroscience major in Boston University’s College of Arts and Sciences. The life sciences is a fascinating as well as crucial field of our current events. Simplistically, life sciences focuses on organic life and its necessary materials and how to comprehend, utilize or improve it to facilitate your lifestyle and your surroundings. In the laboratory, there are arrays of complicated tools and procedures to keep in place and flux of members due to academic or personal reasons, but can be managed with preparation. Overall, a laboratory must have socially accepted rules for the team’s benefits. There can be hundreds in detail, but here are the top nine rules I’d recommend the most.

9. Always be likeable to your team members. Teamwork is of utmost importance for a research team. No matter how primitive the team’s resources may be, teamwork will always be the gateway to discover new clues in a laboratory. Even a simple smartphone is a useful tool with software enabling various apparatuses including a camera that can record data. People are malleable in capacity to succeed so advocating teamwork over resources is always rational.

8. Know your stuff’s location, organization and electronics and their conditions. Organizing one’s materials is very crucial. Every chemical, tools and documents are there for particularly specific reasons. If mineral water were used instead of distilled water as means to incubate a cell, the solutes within water would interrupt the cell’s lifespan causing deaths of all cells inside a container. You will be kicked out for an irrational death of even apparently an insignificant lab animal and you will face dire consequences, especially if you are trained not to.

7. Contamination. Contamination is also a subject to keep in mind in a laboratory. All bacteria, microbes and pathogens in the surroundings may not affect the research team, but animals potentially with exposed tissue vulnerable to infections or the outside air most likely will. Proteins and other microscopic compounds can also be consumed or affected by the microbes on our finger tips. This is why many scientists wear gloves and surgical masks, close the doors and clean the entire room to prevent contamination.

6. Be careful with your hands (and your entire body in general). You are a team member responsible for the facility’s well-being as much as anyone else. If you harm yourself with the resources around you, you are not adequately professional and potential consequences can be at risk. From giving a facility and the team a very bad reputation to wasting many dollars worth of data, tools and precious life for future experiments. In fact, in real life, don’t hurt yourself.

5. Start from the beginning: pre-calculus to fifth graders’ prefixes. Fifth-grade education is just as important as any other facts you learn in a university. For instance, if you fully understand how to subtract, add, multiply and divide, you will be fully trusted to utilize weights to measure, pour and distribute liquids to form a solution. It saves loads of time and makes procedures 10 times easier.

4. Maintain privacy for your data and results. Research is a competition to find and search clues to questions and form more questions for future goals. If your information was publicly announced, chances are other teams will take advantage of your work. If that data is published before you stop the other team, that team will gain all the fame and glory for your hard work. That sucks. No kidding.

3. Always keep in touch with everyone! Social network always helps in any career. Be good to other people and they may help you in certain tasks. Professors are also good at this, and that’s how many people gain power to make their dreams come true. Start from making a good Facebook account, then create your own network of similar interests. That is what defines power.

2. Have fun in life with numerous hobbies. If a person was cold and heartless without any sort of emotions, they are not interesting at all. That’s bad for maintaining teamwork as well as searching for unprecedented clues because, in the latter, having fun is what makes experiences diverse. Many inventors, in fact, had fun making numerous discoveries, including the discoverer of glucose’s ringed shape via dreaming.

1. Unconditionally, never lie about any research. Plagiarism is bad since you are pretending to be a brilliant scientist and making a baboon out of yourself. In the modern times, where so many people can be educated and competition is ever increasing, there is no time to afford any risks of doing that.

With my advice, I wish you good luck for whatever dreams you are working on, whether it be life sciences or simply customer services.

Dongjun (Rick) Yoo, [email protected]

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