Optimizing Lab Spaces

Optimizing Lab Spaces
March 2020                  Volume 15 • Number 2




                                              LabManager.com




         Optimizing
         Lab Spaces       Innovative win-win research
                          workplace strategies




2020
LAB DESIGN
SUMMIT

Ergonomics
Optimizing Lab Spaces
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Optimizing Lab Spaces
contents
                                                                                                                         March 2020



                                                                        LabManager.com



                                                                 08                                                                   16




                                                                                                                                      30




                                                                                             22




         feature                                                             leadership & staffing
    08   Optimizing Lab Spaces                                          22   Succession Planning in a Lab:
         Innovative win-win research workplace strategies.                   What, Why, Who, and How
         Gary Cabo                                                           A solid strategy can save you time and resources.
                                                                             Olena Shynkaruk
         labs less ordinary
    12   Purdue University’s Ray W. Herrick                                  lab design
         Laboratories                                                   26   Research on the Move
         “Living labs” show how building design can influence human          Mobile labs offer certain advantages over brick-and-mortar facilities.
         comfort and productivity.                                           MaryBeth DiDonna
         Lauren Everett
                                                                             health & safety
         business management                                            30   Tips for Assessing Indoor Air Quality
    16   The Design Evolution of Common                                      Recommended protocol for regular IAQ assessment.
         Lab Supplies                                                        Vince McLeod
         A look back at how lab equipment has transformed
         throughout the years, and a glimpse of future trends.               events
         Andy Tay                                                       34   What to Expect at the
                                                                             Lab Design Summit
         asset management                                                    A unique opportunity for lab managers and design experts
    20   Finding Quality Pre-Owned                                           to learn and network.
         HPLC is Possible
         Used HPLC systems are an affordable option, but it is
         important to consider compatibility, condition, and support.
         Michelle Dotzert



4   Lab Manager        March 2020                                                                                           LabManager.com
Optimizing Lab Spaces
70                     %                  of surveyed scientists admitted
                                                                                                        that they could not replicate
                                                                                                        someone else’s research.1




                                                              50 %                                      admitted that they couldn’t
                                                                                                        replicate their own research.1




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                                                              1) Baker, Monya. “1,500 scientists lift the lid on reproducibility.”
                                                                 Nature, no. 533 (May 26, 2016): 452-54. doi:10.1038/533452a.

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Optimizing Lab Spaces
March 2020

    laboratory product reports
    LabManager.com




                                                                             2020

                                                                             DESIGN

    SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON DESIGN                                             DEPARTMENTS
    Our Lab Design Summit in May will not only                                  industry insights
    be an opportunity for you to meet and network
    with other lab managers and those in the                                   36 Biopharmaceutical Glycan Profiling
    laboratory design/build world, but a chance to                             Characterizing and profiling glycans is essential for safety and consistency.
    chat with our editorial team face-to-face about                            Michelle Dotzert
    which lab design topics we should cover. Feel
    free to let us know how we’re doing with our                                ask the expert
    lab design content and share your ideas for
                                                                               40 Ask the Expert
    what we could expand upon or change going
    forward. Join us in Atlanta May 11-13.                                     Ergonomic lab design.
                                                                               MaryBeth DiDonna

                                                                                product focus
                                                                               42 Baths and Chillers
                                                                               Design derives from both capacity and utility.
                                                                               Brandoch Cook

                                                                               44 Cold Storage
                                                                               Advanced technology and some simple techniques make more space.
    Lab Manager® (ISSN: 1931-3810) is published 11 times per year;             Mike May
    monthly with combined issues in January/February, by LabX, P.O.
    Box 216, 478 Bay Street, Midland, ON Canada L4R 1K9. USPS                  46 Glassware Washers
    024-188 Periodical Postage Paid at Fulton, MO 65251 and at an
                                                                               Beyond cleaning with ultrasound.
    additional mailing office. A requester publication, Lab Manager, is
    distributed to qualified subscribers. Non-qualified subscription rates     Mike May
    in the U.S. and Canada: $120 per year. All other countries: $180
    per year, payable in U.S. funds. Back issues may be purchased at           48 Microwave Digestion
    a cost of $15 each in the U.S. and $20 elsewhere. While every
                                                                               Methods to achieve consistency.
    attempt is made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained
    herein, the publisher and its employees cannot accept responsibility       Angelo DePalma
    for the correctness of information supplied, advertisements or opin-
    ions expressed. ©2013 Lab Manager® by Geocalm Inc. All rights               in every issue
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    permission from the publisher.                                             21 Infographic    Cleanroom contamination control.
    WDS Canadian return: 478 Bay Street, Suite A213, Midland, ON
    Canada L4R 1K9.
                                                                               47 QUICK TIPS FROM LINDA            Flexible Lab Spaces.

    POSTMASTER: Send address changes to                                        50 Technology News        The latest equipment, instruments, and system introductions to the
    Lab Manager ®, PO Box 2015, Skokie, Il 60076.                              laboratory market.

                                                                               55 Pre-owned Equipment Marketplace
                                                                               55 Advertisers Index
                                                                               54 Lab Manager Online

6   Lab Manager                 March 2020                                                                                                            LabManager.com
Optimizing Lab Spaces
editor’s note




the lab manager’s role in lab design
Every lab manager will be involved in a lab design project at some           outcome of the project, to then creating a “neighborhood” open layout
point during their career (likely a few times), whether it is a reno-        of lab spaces, maximizing the facility’s footprint, and incorporating spe-
vation, a brand-new lab build, or a series of smaller-scale projects         cific design elements to increase productivity and encourage thoughtful
that aim to better utilize existing space and equipment.                     collaboration. Turn to page 8 to learn more about this project.
The field of laboratory design has become a growing focus for Lab            For some research groups, a stationary laboratory facility simply
Manager’s editorial mission, particularly this past year with the ad-        does not suffice. For this issue’s lab design feature, we profile three
dition of lab design editor MaryBeth DiDonna joining the team,               mobile labs—a mitochondria lab housed in an RV; an all-electric
and the launch of Lab Manager’s third live event, the Lab Design             surgical instrument lab built from a ULCA and Winnebago Indus-
Summit, taking place May 11-13 in Atlanta, GA (turn to page 34               tries partnership; and a marine research sea vessel. Each of these lab
for more details on the Summit).                                             groups had unique needs to properly conduct their research, and
                                                                             found that the ability to be mobile was a key factor in successfully
Lab design encompasses many topics beyond traditional renovations
                                                                             completing their work. Turn to page 26 to read the full article.
or new construction projects, including sustainability and efficiency,
how to enhance existing spaces, and future-proofing facilities. Addi-        This issue’s Health & Safety section (page 30) also includes a lab
tionally, there’s a diverse group of minds involved in any lab design        design twist, focusing on the importance of indoor air quality.
project, from architect, project manager, or design consultant, to the       Without proper ventilation, safety standards, and regular evalua-
facilities manager. The lab manager often acts as the liaison source         tion, the health of laboratory staff could be at risk. Lab Manager’s
between these numerous disciplines to ensure the needs of the lab            designated “Safety Guy” Vince McLeod shares knowledge from
staff are being met, while also keeping the project on track, on bud-        organizations like OSHA and the EPA, and also includes his advice
get, and with minimal disturbance to workflow. This issue will help          from years of experience with developing protocols for regular
lab managers navigate the design and renovation process, and may             indoor air quality assessments. “By surveying your indoor air qual-
spark some ideas on how to implement small-scale enhancements to             ity regularly, you can find and prevent many common problems
your facility that can have a big impact.                                    before they become serious,” he says.
The cover story, “Optimizing Lab Spaces,” discusses ways to take             Enjoy,
advantage of lab design to appeal to existing staff, new recruits, and
upper management, using a newly designed building at Arizona State
University as a prime example. Author Gary Cabo outlines the design                                                          Lauren Everett
process, beginning with developing a mission statement for the                                                               Managing Editor



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                                                                                                                       March 2020           Lab Manager            7
Optimizing Lab Spaces
optimizing lab spaces




       Optimizing Lab Spaces
                              Innovative win-win research workplace strategies
                                        by Gary Cabo, AIA, LEED AP®




       W
                   orkplace strategy may not be the first thing     The design and scale of the new, copper-enclosed laboratory
                                                                    building at Arizona State University creates a dramatic sense of
                   that comes to mind in the design of a labo-      arrival at a major campus gateway, its primary form an expression
                   ratory building; however, it is an essential     of the three research “neighborhoods” that comprise each floor.
       element in the creation of a productive and efficient        Credit: Nick Merrick © Hall + Merrick

       research environment. After all, laboratory work is only
       one part of the research process and—just like any other     ownership over their space through options to custom-
       industry—when it comes to the recruitment and reten-         ize it to their needs. This article highlights Arizona State
       tion of top talent, individuals are certainly considering    University’s (ASU) Biodesign Institute C as a case study
                                                                    in workplace strategy success.

                                                                    Big goals, big results
       “Aspirations for the project were set                           From the outset, ASU intended for the Biodesign
                                                                    Institute C building to make a powerful visual statement
       very high and defined in a project                           at a campus gateway, set a new bar for sustainability and
                                                                    spatial efficiency, and serve as a new venue for ground-
       mission statement that included key                          breaking scientific discovery to take place. Aspirations

       targets for measuring success.”                              for the project were set very high and defined in a project
                                                                    mission statement that included key targets for measur-
                                                                    ing success. The essence of the statement was for the
                                                                    university and the project team to deliver a new research
       the total work setting when assessing new opportunities.     building that provided highly flexible and adaptable space
       The key to workplace strategy success is to create an en-    for reliable research, balanced first cost with lifecycle
       vironment that will be a win-win for researchers and for     cost, and offered the maximum research space for the
       the client/owner alike. Cost, maintenance, and spatial ef-   investment. ASU challenged the project team to work
       ficiencies must be baked into the design, while principal    within stipulated space constraints to create a dense pro-
       investigators should be encouraged to develop a sense of     gram of varied workspace options that would promote


8      Lab Manager       March 2020                                                                                 LabManager.com
Optimizing Lab Spaces
TOP 5 REASONS TO ATTEND

        THE 2020 LAB DESIGN SUMMIT


1   Learn from leading industry experts about the latest techniques
    and technologies that will help make your lab more sustainable.



    Discover effective communication strategies for building a successful
2   working collaboration with all those who play a part in bringing
    the lab into the 21st century and beyond.


    Join on us for behind-the-scenes tours of some of Atlanta’s most
3   innovative research facilities and get a first-hand look at how
    modern design trends can impact a facility’s workflow.




4   Consult one-on-one with equipment suppliers and design professionals
    to resolve your lab’s most pressing operational challenges.




5   Educate yourself on efficient, low-cost ways to optimize your lab’s
    existing footprint and enhance productivity.




                     2020

                     DESIGN
                     MAY 11-13, 2020
                     ATLANTA, GEORGIA
                      LEARN MORE
                     SUMMIT.LABMANAGER.COM/DESIGN
Optimizing Lab Spaces
optimizing lab spaces




        and enable the creation of collaborative research clusters,    the immediately adjacent tech desk space; the physical
        while increasing opportunities for chance interactions         proximity and strong visual connection between the two
        between different research groups. In order to develop         further enhances the sense of ample elbow room.
        optimal programming options, the design team consulted
        with a diverse range of people, from furniture vendors to      Sense of ownership improves output
        representative user groups.                                       In order to maximize assignable square footage and
           The resulting 191,035 square-foot building was inten-       deliver on client expectations for a hyper-efficient labo-
        tionally designed with an open neighborhood model to           ratory building, traditional research workplace strategies
        encourage collaboration between scientists of different        were revised with a critical eye in favor of those that
        disciplines. But in order to truly maximize assignable         would promote maximum use of programmed office
        space within the building, every square foot had to work       and tech desk areas. Frequently, the default furniture
        smarter, not harder. Turning to the idea of creating a         strategy at such institutions is to provide one desk for
        strategically symbiotic campus, the design team lever-         each person assigned to a laboratory. Keeping in mind
        aged the proximity and accessibility of large public           that different researchers are productive in different
        spaces within the neighboring Biodesign Institute A            types of spaces, coupled with the obvious fact that team
        and B buildings, forgoing the addition of such spaces to       members cannot physically be at the laboratory bench
        Biodesign Institute C. This enables the new building to        and their desk at the same time, the balance of furniture
        house the same number of principal investigators as the        systems and layouts was fine-tuned to reflect the reality
        two neighboring research buildings combined, but in 40         of the usage levels of the different neighborhood areas.
        percent less space and with a whopping 95.7 percent of         This approach is a win for facilities as efficiencies are
        usable square feet purely dedicated to research space.         baked into the design from day one. As for the research-
                                                                       ers, many workplace studies show that an employee’s
        The importance of elbow room                                   sense of ownership or control over their work and their
           A neighborhood concept with open laboratories sized         environment has a positive and significant influence on
        for six principal investigators was used to plan the labora-   their work performance, productivity, engagement, and
        tory spaces. For facilities, the neighborhood concept          ability to create and innovate. At Biodesign Institute C,
        is successful because it increases profitable utilization      research groups were able to tailor their neighborhoods
        of the laboratory space and turnover of researchers as         to their individual needs and workstyles via a menu of
        appropriate. The concept also reduces first cost, energy,      heads-down and teaming options for office/write-up
        and long-term operations and maintenance costs. For            areas, ranging from standard desks to genius bars to
        researchers, this is a compelling solution because this lay-   living room-style seating arrangements. The ability to
        out increases opportunities for innovation, collaboration,     customize is an instant win for researchers, with positive
        and sharing of ideas as well as laboratory equipment.          ramifications for the owner/client, too.
        Biodesign Institute C comprises 13 research neighbor-
        hoods across the five above-grade levels—two are high-
        bay, two are chemical fume hood-intensive, and nine are
        basic experimentalist. With such a dense program and
        a lack of large public spaces, one might be forgiven for
        wondering if space feels a little tight. However, care was
        taken to ensure that the amount of space per researcher
        is more than comparable to that of other similar insti-
        tutions. While vast atriums have been taken out of the
        equation, the concept of what collaboration space should
        look like has been reimagined and incorporated into each
        research neighborhood in an infinitely more useable,
        human-scale manner. Floor-to-ceiling vision glass en-
        closes the laboratories, allowing for clear views of fellow    The building’s open neighborhood model encourages collaboration
        researchers and easy monitoring of experiments from            between scientists of different disciplines. Credit: ZGF




10      Lab Manager        March 2020                                                                               LabManager.com
optimizing lab spaces




Increasing productivity, naturally                                 facility is projected to set new standards of energy effi-
  Biodesign Institute C’s biophilic design elements are in-        ciency for campus laboratory buildings, with a predicted 81
tended to foster a positive, productive indoor environment,        percent energy use reduction over the Labs21 baseline.
while maintaining connection with nature and community.
A 35 percent window-to-wall ratio and transparent layer-
ing of research spaces ensures daylight floods above-grade
interiors. Abundant windows on each level, including the
glass-enclosed lobby, overlook active campus thoroughfares
and a grove of vibrant palo verde trees.



“The ability to customize is an
instant win for researchers, with
positive ramifications for the
owner/client, too.”                                                Highly flexible yet densely programmed laboratory space is enclosed
                                                                   in floor-to-ceiling vision glass, allowing for clear views of fellow re-
                                                                   searchers and easy monitoring of experiments from the immediately
   The building’s striking dual façade of copper screen            adjacent computational space. Credit: Nick Merrick © Hall + Merrick

and insulated metal panels was not just an aesthetic
choice. Comprised of thousands of copper panels, the                 Arizona State University intended for Biodesign Institute
screen features eight different levels of perforation.             C to make a powerful statement at a campus gateway and
Intensive studies of the site’s micro-climate and façade-          serve as a new venue for groundbreaking scientific discov-
specific conditions informed their calibration and posi-           ery, while simultaneously raising the bar for sustainability
tioning to minimize solar heat gain, optimize daylighting          and spatial optimization. By leveraging the existing public
and visual comfort, and provide unobstructed views. A              spaces and amenities of neighboring buildings, research
two-foot gap between the insulated metal panels and the            neighborhoods were densified smartly, without depriving
copper screen, coupled with openings in the screen, cre-           teams of collaboration space or elbow room. A logical reas-
ates a ventilated cavity where air temperature between             sessment of space and seating led to a win-win design with
the two skins is balanced with the outdoor air tempera-            both workflow and spatial efficiencies baked in to benefit the
ture. As a shading device, the screen reduces the surface          bottom line for facilities, while incorporating a controlled
temperature of the inner façade by roughly 65 degrees              set of customization options that provide researchers with a
on hot summer days. This in turn reduces the interior              valuable sense of ownership over their space. The new re-
surface temperature of the wall by three degrees, signifi-         search environment within Biodesign Institute C is not only
cantly reducing the cooling load on perimeter spaces and           highly efficient in every way, but also mutually beneficial for
further contributing to user comfort.                              the university and researchers alike.
   Inside the building, the project team worked with the
university to enact new standards for reduced air change           Gary Cabo, principal at ZGF Architects has 36 years of experi-
rates, supporting use of a chilled beam hydronic system            ence leading large project teams in the execution of innova-
where ventilation is decoupled from cooling. All non-              tive design solutions for technologically and programmatically
laboratory air cascades from perimeter offices through the         complex research buildings. His involvement on projects extends
laboratories, providing “free” air conditioning for office         from initial design through construction administration, working
spaces and reusing the air to meet laboratory ventilation re-      closely with clients, architects, and engineers to resolve technical
quirements. Variable volume low-flow fume hoods further            design issues and develop design documentation. Gary received a
minimize air change rates while lowering turbulence, thus          bachelor of environmental design from Miami University, and a
increasing user safety. As a result, air quality is high and the   master of architecture from the University of Minnesota.


                                                                                                    March 2020         Lab Manager            11
labs less ordinary




        Purdue University’s Ray W. Herrick Laboratories
        “LIVING LABS” SHOW HOW BUILDING DESIGN CAN INFLUENCE HUMAN
        COMFORT AND PRODUCTIVITY by Lauren Everett




        O
                 n average, Americans spend about 90 percent          The new Ray W. Herrick Laboratories, opened in 2013. Credit:
                                                                      Herrick Labs Archival Photo
                 of their time indoors, where the concentrations
                 of some pollutants can be two to five times
        higher than typical outdoor concentrations, according to      related disciplines. One such example is the Center for
        an EPA report. So, how is human health affected by an         High Performance Buildings. “We look at indoor air
        indoor lifestyle?                                             quality, various technologies that we can put into spaces
                                                                      to make them more livable, how to be more energy ef-
                                                                      ficient, and other things like that,” says Rhoads. “Purdue
        “Almost any type of heating, air                              has a long history of working with equipment companies
                                                                      and building material companies to bring the next thing
        conditioning, ventilation, [or]                               out to market. These products need innovation and vali-

        refrigeration system around the                               dation based upon basic research. If you put something
                                                                      in a commercial building, you expect to interact with
        world has something in it that has                            it for decades,” he adds. Teams at the Center for High
                                                                      Performance Buildings partner with industry to create
        been designed by our laboratories.”                           new technologies in sustainable building systems, indoor
                                                                      environments, human perception and comfort, and high-
                                                                      performance equipment. “Almost any type of heating,
           “If you’re going to be in these [indoor] spaces for long   air conditioning, ventilation, [or] refrigeration system
        periods of time, what impact, if any, will these spaces       around the world has something in it that has been de-
        have on your health? What can we do to make these spaces      signed by our laboratories,” says Rhoads, adding that the
        healthier and more pleasant in other ways?” These are         same is true for noise control systems as well.
        the types of questions that Jeff Rhoads, director of the
        Ray W. Herrick Laboratories at Purdue University (West        Evaluating indoor air quality
        Lafayette, IN), and fellow researchers are evaluating.          The Herrick Labs offer 83,000 square feet of space
           As Rhoads explains, the Herrick Labs facility is “eclec-   for students, faculty, and industry. Some of the spaces
        tic”—housing a variety of basic and applied research          and features of the building include advanced engine
        centers associated with mechanical engineering and            test cells; acoustics, noise, and vibration testing; and an


12      Lab Manager       March 2020                                                                                LabManager.com
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labs less ordinary




                                                                                           1.       3.




                                                                                  2.




        1. Original Herrick Labs, donated to Purdue University in 1957 by
        Ray W. Herrick. Credit: Herrick Labs Archival Photo 2. A Herrick
        Labs student working in the High Bay Testing Area of the facility.
        Credit: Marketing & Media, Purdue University 3. A study in a tightly-
        controlled office space at Purdue University is showing that people
        greatly impact the air chemistry of the rooms where they work.
        Credit: Purdue University/Brandon Boor 4. Students studying in the
        Living Labs at the Ray W. Herrick Laboratories. Credit: Marketing &
        Media, Purdue University




        innovative perception-based engineering lab. Herrick                    identify all of the types of indoor air contaminants and
        Labs has a more than 60-year history of conducting                      recommend ways to control them through how a building
        work that has a real-world impact, which for Rhoads,                    is designed and operated. This effort is one of the largest
        is what drew him to the facility. He has been a Purdue                  studies of its kind, according to Purdue.
        faculty member since 2007, but just recently took on                       As Rhoads explains, the four Living Labs offices can
        the leadership role as director of Herrick Labs in the                  each be customized or reconfigured. “We can change
        fall of 2019. “As a researcher that has spent a lot of                  the ventilation in the room and do tests on how humans
        time in academia, I have come to learn that it’s not                    perceive that. We can do controls or experiments side-
        always the case where you can see things happen at a                    by-side since we have four nearly-identical rooms and
        lab bench that then goes on to directly impact society.                 we can do different interventions in each one,” he says.
        That’s what you hope, but you don’t always see those                    “As you can imagine, it’s a unique space to design, and
        success cases. But in my job, I see it on a daily basis.”               requires a lot of forethought.”
           Another unique facility under the Herrick Laboratories                  In addition to the sensors, the team deployed a proton
        umbrella is a space known as the Living Labs. Inspired                  transfer reaction time-of-flight mass spectrometer to
        to learn more about indoor contaminants, lighting, and                  identify compounds in human breath in real time. They
        thermal comfort within office settings, researchers created             found that isoprene and other volatile compounds linger
        a tightly-controlled set of four open-plan office spaces                in the office air even after people have left the room. “Our
        equipped with many sensors that track the flow of indoor                preliminary results suggest that people are the dominant
        and outdoor air through the ventilation system, amongst                 source of volatile organic compounds in a modern office
        other pertinent measures. The goal of one key study? To                 environment,” explains Brandon Boor, assistant professor


14      Lab Manager           March 2020                                                                                  LabManager.com
labs less ordinary




                                                                  4.




of civil engineering, in a Purdue press release on the         furniture choices. “How do you place your engineer, stu-
study. “If an office space is not properly ventilated, these   dents, etc. in proximity to their experimental apparatus?
volatile compounds may adversely affect worker health          There’s certainly pros and cons associated with that,” he
and productivity.” As you may expect, the more people          explains. “Debating different things like flexible or fixed
in a room means more emissions of these compounds.             office seating—these are things I deal with on a fairly
Although this study focused on office workspaces, indoor       regular basis that I think are huge players when design-
air pollutants and proper ventilation is a concern in any      ing new lab spaces.”
indoor space, particularly laboratories.                         As for the future of design and engineering, and the
  “A large fraction of energy consumption in this              next direction of research at Herrick Labs, Rhoads and
country is spent on heating, cooling, ventilation of           his team are certainly thinking outside the box. They
buildings, and small changes in the way we design              are currently involved in a NASA project that aims to
our windows, furnaces, or air conditioners can have            develop transformative smart autonomous habitats that
tremendous global impact in terms of environment,              can withstand and adapt to unpredictable deep space
human health, etc.,” says Rhoads.                              environments. Rhoads also hopes to expand Herrick
                                                               Labs’ engagement with agencies like the Department of
How is lab design evolving?                                    Defense and Department of Energy, and continue to
  When it comes to the evolution of laboratory design,         better understand the interface of buildings and other
Rhoads notes that he has observed the increasing impor-        mechanical systems and people.
tance of flexible space and the reallocation of space. “In       “Autonomous buildings and vehicles are certainly hot
the research world, we’ve gone from having a somewhat          topics that we’re engaged with at the research level, so
clear direction of what comes next, to the need to have        thinking about those spaces, how to replicate them, in-
space that can be turned over quickly from one big proj-       teract with them—those are challenges we enjoy tackling
ect to the next,” he says. “So, we’re having to spend more     on a daily basis,” says Rhoads.
time designing in flexible utilities.”
  From an efficiency and productivity standpoint,              Lauren Everett, managing editor for Lab Manager, can be
Rhoads has a special focus on the layout of the lab and        reached at leverett@labmanager.com or 973-721-4070.


                                                                                          March 2020     Lab Manager         15
business management




       The Design Evolution of
       Common Lab Supplies
       A LOOK BACK AT HOW LAB EQUIPMENT HAS TRANSFORMED THROUGHOUT
       THE YEARS, AND A GLIMPSE OF FUTURE TRENDS by Andy Tay


       “Using a micro-pipette, add trypsin into the cell culture flask        molecules required faster speed to be separated from one
       and wait for five minutes. Check that the cells are detached           another. The breakthrough came in 1926 when Nobel
       before transferring the cell suspension into a Falcon tube. Next,      Laureate Theodor Svedberg invented an ultra-centrifuge
       centrifuge the Falcon tube for five minutes. Finally, count the cell   capable of reaching a speed as high as 900,000 g. This
       density using a hemocytometer and transfer desired numbers of          speed was three to four times faster than most centri-
       cells back into the culture flask.”                                    fuges at that time, providing sufficient forces to separate
                                                                              small biomolecules such as proteins, which facilitated the
          Does this protocol for cell culture look familiar? What             study of complex protein structures.
       about the lab supplies listed in the protocol? Lab sup-                  The next few decades witnessed huge progress in the
       plies such as micro-pipettes and cell culture flasks are               development of centrifuges for isolating sub-cellular
       so common that no researcher pays much attention to                    organelles like mitochondria and even enriched ura-
       them anymore. However, unknown to many, the designs                    nium for the atomic bomb project. Nevertheless, these
       of common lab supplies have evolved tremendously to                    centrifuges remained bulky, expensive, and were not
       suit modern scientific endeavors. Their sophisticated                  widely available. It was not until 1962 that Eppendorf
       and standardized designs have enabled protocols to be                  commercialized the first micro-centrifuge for benchtop
       rigorously established—a major factor driving scientific               use. Since then, materials like lightweight titanium have
       progress. This article outlines the chronological evolu-               replaced bulky steel to provide even stronger centrifugal
       tion of popular lab consumables and equipment, and                     forces. Modern-day centrifuges also offer sophisticated
       discusses future developments in their designs.                        features such as temperature control, user-programmed
                                                                              acceleration/deceleration rates, automatic imbalance
       Centrifuges                                                            detection, and noise reduction.
          A centrifuge is a piece of equipment that makes use of
       centrifugal forces to separate substances based on their               Micro-pipettes
       densities. This rotation-based mechanism causes denser                    A micro-pipette is a spring-loaded piston fitted with
       substances to be collected at the bottom while less dense              a disposable plastic tip for transferring precise volumes
       substances rise to the top.                                            of liquid. Through an air buffer, the piston is separated
          As early as 1864, driven by the commercial need of                  from the liquid, which minimizes biological contamina-
       the dairy industry to quickly separate cream from denser               tion. The modern-day micro-pipette is also fitted with a
       milk, the German brewer Antonin Prandtl invented the                   second spring that can be activated by applying stronger
       first dairy centrifuge. However, its rotational speed was              pressure to dislodge the pipette tip automatically.
       inadequate for biomedical research as biomolecules are                    The first glass pipette was invented by the French
       much smaller and lighter, and different species of bio-                scientist Louis Pasteur (do you recall Pasteur pipettes


16     Lab Manager           March 2020                                                                                 LabManager.com
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       that you used in chemistry labs?), to prevent cross-con-         is transparent, easily moldable into different sizes and
       tamination of samples. Following rapid developments              shapes, and can be sterilized by irradiation, making it an
       in plastic technology, plastic pipettes were eventually          ideal material. Unfortunately, polystyrene is also a hy-
       developed in the 1940s.                                          drophobic plastic, which means that it repels water and
          In 1957, Heinrich Schnitger, then a postdoc in the            cells do not attach well to it.
       University of Marburg, Germany, was frustrated with                 It wasn’t before long scientists figured out a way to
       having to continually make and calibrate new glass pi-           modify the hydrophobic surface of polystyrene to a hy-
       pettes to suck precise volumes of analytes for his experi-       drophilic (water-loving) one. Using high energy plasma
       ments. He channeled his frustration into positive output         that produces reactive oxygen ions, oxygen can be incor-
       by developing the first prototype of the modern-day              porated into polystyrene, making it hydrophilic and cell
       micro-pipette with spring-loaded piston and refillable           attachment-friendly.
       liquid plastic tips that he also patented in the same year.         Starting from the 1970s, disposable plastic cell culture
       Although Schnitger’s design made pipetting easier and            flasks became a mainstay in labs. The modern-day flask is
       safer, it did not offer researchers the flexibility of adjust-   also fitted with a filtered cap at its opening to regulate the
       able volume. After consulting multiple users, Warren             flow of gases and to prevent biological contaminants from
       Gilson and Henry Lardy, who were then that the Uni-              entering the flask. Evolving with biomedical needs, cell cul-
       versity of Wisconsin-Madison, incorporated the feature           ture flasks with different surfaces have also been commer-
       of flexible volumes into the micro-pipette.                      cialized. For instance, Corning introduced the Ultra-Wet®
          Since then, multiple features such as rubber grip and         Synthetic Surfaces that resemble 3D fiber-like topography
       lock have been introduced to improve the ergonom-                that cells would experience in vivo. This is useful for cultur-
       ics and precision of micro-pipettes. A variety of new            ing stem cells that differentiate differently in a 2D versus
       products such as the multi-channel micro-pipette for             3D environment. With increasing popularity in organoid
       handling large sample numbers has also entered the mar-          (3D tissue-like structures with different cell types originat-
       ket. Companies have even color-coded micro-pipettes              ing from stem cells) research, Thermo Fisher Scientific
       with their corresponding pipette tips to make changing           also commercialized the Nunclon™ Sphera™ flasks that
       pipette tips more convenient and intuitive for users.            have ultra-low attachment to avoid uncontrolled stem cell
                                                                        attachment and spontaneous differentiation.
       Cell culture flasks
          Cell culture flasks come in different sizes ranging from      Hemocytometers
       surface areas of 25 cm2 to 225 cm2. Therefore, they are            The word “hemocytometer” means blood cell counter
       commonly referred to as Tx flasks with x corresponding           and its invention was linked to the popularity of hema-
       to their respective surface area. Cell culture flasks can be     tology in the mid-1700s and optical microscope in the
       used to grow a variety of cells including immortalized           1850s. A standard hemocytometer comes with a counting
       cell lines and even primary cells from patients.                 chamber with four squares, each measuring 1 mm2, that is
          Traditionally, cells were being cultured in glass flasks.     etched into the surface of glass. A specific volume of liq-
       However, most cells have difficulty attaching to glass           uid, usually 10 µL, is added to the counting chamber and
       surfaces and consequently, glass flasks have to be spe-          cell density can be determined with the following formula:
       cially treated with expensive proteins such as collagen
       to induce cell attachment. Even then, with batch-to-                                       Total number of cells in the 4 squares
       batch variability in protein quality, protein coating may        Cell density (per mL) =                                          *1000
       not be uniform, causing uneven cell attachment. More                                                        4
       importantly, the process of cleaning glass may also leave
       behind toxic detergent residues that can affect biological          The humble hemocytometer has experienced substan-
       interpretations.                                                 tial design evolution. The initial idea was first conceived
          The development of disposable plastic cell culture            by Louis-Charles Malassez, who in 1874, used a capil-
       flasks was catalyzed by a progress in plastic technology.        lary tube to transfer fixed volumes of cell suspension
       By the 1960s, polystyrene, a type of plastic, was being          into a glass slide with grids. Nevertheless, it remained
       tested to manufacture cell culture flasks. This plastic          challenging to reproducibly count cells as sample


18     Lab Manager        March 2020                                                                                      LabManager.com
business management




uniformity was poor with this technique. Over the          University College London, the largest university in
next 30 years, multiple innovative features were        the United Kingdom, recently announced that it plans to
being incorporated into hemocytometers includ-          phase out single-use plastics including lab consumables
ing counting chambers with fixed volumes so that        like pipette tips and cell culture flasks within the next
cell concentration could be back calculated. Finally,   five years. One way to achieve this ambitious goal is to
in 1913, Karl Bürker invented the closest version       look into alterative materials. It may not be surprising
of the modern-day hemocytometer that exploited          that reusable materials and equipment with low carbon
capillary action to draw fixed liquid volumes into      footprints like handheld centrifuges may be used even in
counting chambers. His hemocytometer design also        well-funded and established labs. Interestingly, similar to
had two sides that facilitated duplicate counting,      the fashion industry, the design of lab supplies may be go-
which subsequent designs followed.                      ing “retro” with greater environmental objections regard-
                                                        ing single-use plastic. Glass, an old friend of biological
Future trends                                           experiments, may regain its long-lost popularity.
   Factors such as user preferences, experimental          The design of lab supplies and equipment is continu-
needs, and plastic technology have dramatically         ally undergoing creative reinventions. Beyond considering
influenced the designs of many lab consumables          users’ preferences, manufacturers should anticipate factors
and equipment, but this evolution is nowhere near       such as environmental considerations and institutional
completion. Automation, including the introduction      research policies that could influence how they design and
of robots in labs, has dramatically impacted the de-    manufacture lab supplies. It will be an exciting time ahead.
signs of lab equipment. Labs, especially those work-
ing in high throughput screening, are increasingly      Andy Tay is a freelance science writer based in Singapore. He can
relying on robots to perform pipetting. Robotically-    be reached at andy.csm2012@gmail.com.
controlled pipetting (also known as liquid han-          20_0380_Lab Manager_MAR Mod: February 12, 2020 2:47 PM Print: 02/12/20 3:39:03 PM page 1 v7

dling robots) can significantly reduce human labor,
translating to cost savings. Automated cell counters,


                                                                                    π
which perform counting much faster than a human,
are also replacing traditional hemocytometers. Au-
tomated systems supported by rigorous check and
control algorithms are expected to become widely
used. Researchers can also look forward to future                                      LAB SUPPLIES
designs with wireless systems for remote control.                           OVER 2,700 SAFETY ITEMS ALWAYS IN STOCK
   Lab supplies and equipment are also undergo-
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price-friendly for democratizing scientific research.
One great example is the evolution of cheaper
benchtop centrifuges from bulky, expensive floor
model centrifuges. Some research groups have tak-
en the idea of “miniaturization” and “cost-savings”
even further by adapting unconventional materials
as lab supplies. For instance, the Whitesides group
at Harvard University has created handheld centri-
                                                               ORDER BY 6 PM FOR
fuges modified from an egg-beater to separate blood
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cells. The same group has even creatively used
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Stanford University pioneered a low-cost paper-
based microscope with up to 140x magnification
and 2 µm resolution.


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asset management




       Finding Quality Pre-Owned HPLC is Possible
       USED HPLC SYSTEMS ARE AN AFFORDABLE OPTION, BUT IT IS IMPORTANT TO
       CONSIDER COMPATIBILITY, CONDITION, AND SUPPORT by Michelle Dotzert, PhD




       H
                 PLC is a powerful tool for analytical chemistry      should inquire regarding testing that was done and whether
                 that enables separation, identification, and quan-   or not those columns meet their application needs.” Other
                 tification of compounds present in a sample. It is   components, such as tubing and consumables should always
       suited to a wide range of applications including phar-         be purchased new as they are easily contaminated.
       maceutical research, food science, environmental, and             As for software, there are many options including origi-
       forensic applications, among many others. The ongoing          nal equipment manufacturer (OEM) and third-party pro-
       evolution of HPLC has led to greater speed, sensitivity,       grams. A third-party option may be appealing, however
       and efficiency; however, these improvements come at a          opting for OEM software can prevent some challenges in
       substantial cost. Laboratories looking for more affordable     the future. “We recommend the OEM software for HPLC
       options, especially startup labs with limited funds, should    systems,” says Bilgin. “In the event that you have an is-
       consider purchasing pre-owned HPLC systems.                    sue that needs to be addressed, tech support may not be
          There are a few important factors to consider to ensure     familiar with third-party software programs.”
       the best pre-owned option for the lab, such as compat-            The main advantage of purchasing used HPLC
       ibility. “If you plan to pair an HPLC with an existing mass    systems is the lower price, but in some circumstances, it
       spectrometer, confirm compatibility and any firmware           is not advisable to purchase pre-owned. “If you require
       requirements beforehand,” says Ceylan Bilgin, director of      a specific configuration that is not available in the used
       marketing at International Equipment Trading Ltd. (IET).       market, it would be better to purchase new,” says Bilgin.
          It is also essential to work with a reputable reseller      “If you are purchasing the HPLC for a specific applica-
       who will ensure equipment has been properly tested, as         tion and you are not sure if that configuration will meet
       well as provide a warranty or guarantee with purchase.         your needs, you should confirm this with the original
       Following testing, “we sell our equipment guaranteed to        manufacturer’s technical support department,” she adds.
       meet or exceed original manufacturer’s specifications,”           Pre-owned HPLC systems are a more affordable
       explains Bilgin. It is also worth inquiring about installa-    alternative to purchasing new; however, given their high
       tion and networking services for a more efficient setup        degree of sophistication, it is essential to work with a
       and to ensure appropriate configuration. “If the HPLC          reputable reseller, and ensure appropriate testing has
       is purchased in conjunction with a mass spectrometer, we       been completed. With some additional research, includ-
       include installation and networking of the LC compo-           ing warranty and software options, as well as technical
       nents with the mass spectrometer,” says Bilgin.                support and installation services, a used HPLC system
          Wondering if the column, the critical component of an       can be a valuable addition to many labs.
       HPLC system, can be purchased used? “Yes,” says Bilgin,
       “we have a limited number of columns available that we         Michelle Dotzert, scientific technical editor for Lab Manager,
       test with the HPLC prior to shipment. The customer             can be reached at mdotzert@labmanager.com or 226-376-2538.


20     Lab Manager        March 2020                                                                              LabManager.com
cleanroom contamination control




                  To ensure an optimally
               functioning cleanroom, it is
              essential to limit contaminant
                introduction and monitor
                     surfaces and air.




Cleanrooms are facilities designed to maintain extremely low levels
of particulates, including dust, microbes, and aerosols. They are
classified based on the number of particles per volume of air.
Contamination can be dangerous and costly, and can be controlled
with adherence to operational protocols and routine monitoring.




Laboratory personnel are one of the largest sources of contamination
within the cleanroom. Human skin hosts millions of microorganisms
that may be released into the environment, along with particles from
personal care products and clothing.




Controlling Contamination
       from People

                              Gowning protocols are based on the
                              sensitivity of the work environment,
                              and it is critical that personnel
                              adhere to the established protocols.




        Begin the gowning process with
   clean hair, hands, and shoes. It is also
       advisable to remove makeup and
    use minimal personal care products.




                              Remove anything that is not required
                              in the cleanroom area, including
                              personal items, jewelry, and
                              electronics.




     Avoid contact with surfaces (walls,
        doors, lockers, etc.) as much as
                possible while gowning.


                                                                       LABMANAGER.COM/CLEANROOM-CONTAMINATION
                              Avoid contact with the outside of
                              any garments (gloves, masks, etc.)
                              while gowning.




    Step into the cleanroom quickly and
     allow the door to close completely.
    Avoid holding the door open for any
                  longer than necessary.
leadership & staffing




        Succession Planning in a Lab:
        What, Why, Who, and How
        A SOLID STRATEGY CAN SAVE YOU TIME AND RESOURCES by Olena Shynkaruk, PhD




        W
                     hen I think of succession planning, the first   corresponds to identifying and training successors for
                     situation that comes to mind is the board-      not only senior positions in a lab but rather for every po-
                     room of a multinational company, filled         sition: from lab technician to research associate, principal
        with executives and investors trying to find a replace-      scientist, and lab manager. It helps continuously align
        ment for the CEO who announced their retirement.             employees’ talents with core values of your lab, maintain
        However, succession planning can relate and benefit not      its strengths, and address its weaknesses.
        only global businesses but also improve lab operations.         A succession plan is not a replacement plan. It’s an ac-
        As a lab manager, you are responsible for the day-to-        tive process of development (hence the term succession
        day operations and management of lab resources, while        development) of your employees. It requires not only a
        talent management might not                                                             document (e.g. an actual plan),
        be something that was included                                                          but also an active program that
        in your former training. This
        article intends to help you navi-
                                                “Ninety-four percent of                         includes skills development,
                                                                                                follow-ups, improvements,
        gate the process of succession
        planning and facilitate you and
                                                  employers surveyed                            and supporting funding. The
                                                                                                program requires objective and
        your coworkers’ career transi-
        tions and retirements. Whether
                                                  report that having a                          performance metrics. The scale
                                                                                                of succession development
        you are a lab manager of an            succession plan positively                       depends on the size of your lab
        academic, industry, or start-                                                           and affiliated organization.
        up lab, succession planning is         impacts their employees’                            In its turn, a replacement plan
        worth paying attention to as it                                                         is rather a reactive process, where
        can provide a valuable strategy          engagement levels.”                            the position is filled when it be-
        for talent management and save                                                          comes available. It doesn’t matter
        you and your organization time                                                          as much if it would be an external
        and resources in the future.                                 or internal hire. However, it comes at the price of not only
                                                                     external search but also current lab members’ engagement
        What. Succession planning, or rather succession develop-     and morale—more on this in the following Why section.
        ment is a proactive process of identifying key leadership
        and technical positions and shifting your employees to       Why. So, Why do we bother with succession planning in a
        the right positions at the right time upon organizational    lab? There are numerous benefits, with some being obvi-
        changes like career transitions and retirement. Suc-         ous (like uninterrupted lab operation) and others some-
        cession development in a lab is a multilevel process. It     what surprising (promotion of collaborative culture).


22      Lab Manager        March 2020                                                                            LabManager.com
REGISTRATION NOW OPEN

              SUMMIT.LABMANAGER.COM/LEADERSHIP




             HANDLING
           THE DUAL ROLE
            OF MANAGER
            AND MENTOR



                                   As a mentor in the workplace, you are not responsible for
                                   simply managing other people’s challenges for them. You are
                                   offering support and guidance to allow your staff to lead on
                                   their own. This presentation will discuss strategies to empower
                                   employees, why you should take on the role of mentoring,
                                   and how to succeed as a mentor, even with limited time and
                                   resources.
      JUNE 1-3, 2020               Paris Grey
       NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE        Coordinator of Research Programs, University of Florida



SUMMIT.LABMANAGER.COM/LEADERSHIP    MORE TOPICS FROM EXPERT SPEAKERS
leadership & staffing




        Uninterrupted lab operation. Having no technician to operate   succession plan. However, “the lab manager can provide
        an instrument may result in the work overload for a lab        staff suggestions, conduct candidate reviews, and assist
        manager and other lab members, slower results turnover,        during the interview process,” says Yan Li, financial
        and loss of research advantage. Having a succession            and administrative coordinator, lab manager of profes-
        development program in place would allow an uninter-           sor Robert Campbell’s lab at the University of Alberta.
        rupted workflow and happier co-workers.                        This assistance to upper management (a.k.a professor)
                                                                       is incredibly valuable for the development of an effec-
                                                                       tive succession plan.
        “As a lab manager, your unique                                 Industry lab. In industry, C-suite executives are typically
        perspective and insights into                                  responsible for the development of a succession plan.
                                                                       And although there might be more regulations around
        succession planning (e.g., lab                                 lab management in an industry lab compared to an
                                                                       academic lab, the role of a manager to maintain the
        members’ skills, engagement, and                               morale of the lab and assist upper management in suc-
                                                                       cession development is similar to an academic lab. The
        productivity) improves the odds of                             lab manager is the on-the-floor operator and record
                                                                       keeper. As a lab manager, your unique perspective and
        the plan being successful.”                                    insights into succession planning (e.g., lab members’
                                                                       skills, engagement, and productivity) improves the odds
                                                                       of the plan being successful.
        Coworker engagement. According to the Hireology team,
        “ninety-four percent of employers surveyed report that         Start-up lab. In a start-up environment, a succession plan
        having a succession plan positively impacts their employ-      might need to adopt an agile form, similar to the business
        ees’ engagement levels.” What would increased engage-          model itself. There might not be years of operations to
        ment provide? Positive workplace culture, increased effec-     develop and perfect the process. These days, the high
        tiveness, and longer workforce retention, to name a few.       mobility of the workforce, especially in the tech indus-
                                                                       try, requires high agility of the succession plan. There-
        Collaborative culture. Having a proactive succession devel-    fore, creating a collection of protocols and operating
        opment program in place designed around leadership             procedures, as well as training your team to be able to fill
        training and skills development in a group and individual      in for each other’s positions, or at least be aware of each
        settings would promote cross-functional collaborations         other’s project progress, might be a good start.
        and foster meaningful connections in your lab.
                                                                       How. Depending on the organization, there are multiple
        Who. The million-dollar question in succession planning        ways to approach succession development. Below, there
        is, “Who is responsible for it? Is it a CEO? Team of senior    are five ways that can be used immediately.
        executives? Professor? Or a lab manager?” We broke down
        the answers relative to the common types of workplace.         Plan long-term. Successful succession development is a
                                                                       long-term process spanning years. It has objectives and
        Academic lab. As you probably know, the position of a          performance measures to provide a valid framework for
        lab manager in academia is fluid. For example, in the          continuous improvement. In a service lab, it might look
        academic setting, anyone from a research associate to a        like each member learns how to operate and trouble-
        postdoctoral fellow can hold the title of a lab manager.       shoot every piece of equipment. Meanwhile, suitable
        The primary role of a lab manager is to support lab            candidates have professional and leadership develop-
        members in their work and ensure smooth operations             ment opportunities. Making the candidates aware of
        of the lab. Identifying key lab positions and projects is      the succession development process will deepen their
        usually done by a professor. Therefore, it would be safe       engagement, although one needs to be careful not to
        to assume that it is a professor who usually develops a        alienate other lab members.


24      Lab Manager        March 2020                                                                            LabManager.com
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