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Organization and Productivity

Surviving Lab Life After Having Kids

  Having kids changes your life.  I should know, I have 5 little F1’s running around. Your life is thrown into chaos the minute you hear that first cry.  And it isn’t only your personal life that changes.  Eventually you have to figure out how to fold your new parenting responsibilities into your lab life.…

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4 Ways You Can Improve Your Research Reproducibility

You will learn: 4 highly effective ways to improve your lab’s research reproducibility by using Labguru, including: Protocol versioning. Reagent descriptions. Specimen tracking. Experiment design. Summary: Recent studies indicate that at least 70% of certain types of research (particularly around life sciences) is not reproducible. Funders, reviewers, and researchers are increasingly demanding improved processes to…

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Common New Year’s Resolutions for Scientists (and how to keep them) 

A new year means new resolutions and a chance to improve ourselves. All to often however these changes last only a few weeks before we slip back into old ways. Why not make 2015 different and make a change that sticks? These changes don’t have to be huge, and often it’s the small changes that…

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20 Ways to Increase your Productivity

No matter how efficient you are, it’s always possible to improve your productivity and improving your productivity means that you get more of the rewards you are trying to obtain: results, publications… or dare I say it, money. Here are 20 ways to improve your productivity. Some are focussed toward improving the productivity of bench…

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Making The Most Out Of Your Commute To The Lab

Power nap anyone? Depending on how long your commute is, and what type of transport you use, you could make your commute useful. If you are taking public transport, you can use that time to answer those emails you don’t have time to get to at the office/lab, or to catch up on reading some…

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Spring Cleaning in the Lab – How not to Have Skeletons in your Lab Closet

Most of us hate cleaning and are often hard pressed to find time to clean our homes, never mind our laboratory space. However, an annual spring clean and maintenance of a regular cleaning rota/regime will contribute to an efficient, organized and harmonious lab environment. This is increasingly important in communal lab spaces where multiple staff…

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How to Stay Organized in the Lab

Over the years, I have noticed that laboratory environments are just as fragile and sensitive as the experiments performed within. If permitted, the lab can deteriorate into a chaotic mess within only a few days. That is why it is crucial to establish an organizational system in the lab. Here are a few of my…

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10 Tips For Organizing Your Lab Book

Writing your lab book is easy to put off as it never seems quite as important as splitting your cells or running that gel. I’m sure, like me, you’ve said to yourself it’s fine if I leave it for a day or maybe even a week, as I’ve got all my notes to work from.…

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6 Ways to Maximize the Lifetime of Your Reagents

Reagents are expensive and are a significant cost to your lab. You know what to do to keep others from stealing your reagents. But contamination, improper storage and “lost” batches will all eat into your stock of reagents, bump up your consumables costs and waste your precious time. Unless you take steps to prevent them, that…

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The A-Z List of Things that go “Missing” in the Lab

Here is a fun list of things that you are most likely to lose to light-fingered colleagues or nocturnal ghosts of academia. The emphasis here is on fun, so as disclaimers often go, if your experience proved somewhat different, this list “does not represent the actions of every individual or ghost who you might encounter…

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Sharing and Transferring Gigabytes of Data

Great Scott! 1.21 gigabytes of data!!! The conundrum is not ‘Where can I store massive amounts of information’, but ‘How can I quickly share massive amounts of information all at once?!’ I’m certain this is a topic we have all wrestled with before, so here are 5 quick ways to send research data out to…

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Tips for Uncluttering your Email Box

In the hectic world we live in you may not be away from your computer for more than an hour and the emails pile up. Setting aside a couple of time blocks each day to spend answering emails and following some of the tips below will help keep on top of things. 1)      Set up…

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Best Practice for Cataloging Your Samples

The correct documentation and storage of your laboratory samples may be a tedious process, but it will make your life a lot easier in the long run. The last thing any scientist wants when trying to complete a key last experiment for a publication is not being able to find or identify a critical sample.…

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10 Commonly Broken Good Laboratory Practices

What comes to mind when you think of good laboratory practices? To many, good laboratory practices describes the best conduct while working at the bench. The laboratory is a complex environment and understanding how small, seemingly innocuous, actions can have such a huge impact on the outcome of an experiment will help you to ensure…

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How to Keep Track of Lab Orders

How often have you torn apart the lab looking for the reagent you need right now for some thawing samples?  That reagent which you (possibly) ordered a week ago and which (maybe) came in yesterday?  If your answer isn’t “just once in my entire career,” please read on!  I will outline four steps to setup…

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Top 10 Most Hated Lab Tasks

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…

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Save the Data! Your Computer May Be Dead, but Your Hard Drive’s Heart Still Beats!

You get that familiar blue screen or an application hangs, usually one that’s been tanking your memory. No keystroke response.  The deer-in-the-headlight look on your face prompts your colleagues to ask, ‘is everything ok?’ while they secretly laugh at you. Rebooting 27 times will not save you now. Your computer has breathed its last. Even…

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