Following closely on the heels of Cristy’s article “How to Clean a Waterbath”, I’d like to take a moment to rant about a few other hated (and carefully avoided) lab tasks. Here are my top ten LEAST favorite things to do in the lab:
Cleaning out the vacuum trap – truly gag-worthy…you never know what your colleagues have been sucking up in there.
Defrosting the -20°C freezer – it’s slow, it’s messy, and you’ll just have to do it all over again in a month or two.
Defrosting the -80°C freezer – even worse, due to the possibility of accidentally freezing body parts to the inside of the freezer, or losing a finger to frostbite.
Filling the liquid nitrogen tank – I always feel like I’m taking my life in my hands when I do this! Something that is so dangerous shouldn’t slosh so much, you know?
Updating the chemical inventory – this would be so much easier if you just updated it every time you ordered a chemical, but when has that ever happened?
Annotating plasmid maps – carefully piecing together the sequence for the clone you just made sometimes seems like it takes even longer than making the clone itself!
Making competent cells – the centrifugations, the aliquoting, stressing out over sterile technique…it doesn’t get any better than this!
Aliquoting – competent cells, antibodies, dNTPs…just about anything, really.
Making up 10M HCl or NaOH stocks for adjusting the pH of solutions – scary scary scary.
Racking pipette tips – have you ever been in a lab cheap enough to buy loose pipette tips that need to be individually inserted into the tip boxes before autoclaving? A sure-fire way to drive your summer student crazy.
I think that transferring Western blots is one the most enjoyable tasks to do in a lab: it’s quick, it’s messy, and on some gleeful level, it feels like a child’s art project gone wrong. Of course, it’s also finicky and slippery and prone to tiny pitfalls that can noticeably affect the quality of your […]
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