Optimizing Lab Spaces
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March 2020 Volume 15 • Number 2 LabManager.com Optimizing Lab Spaces Innovative win-win research workplace strategies 2020 LAB DESIGN SUMMIT Ergonomics
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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
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 Improve Reproducibility. PHCbi brand Cell-IQ™ CO2 and O2 incubators are designed to deliver reproducibility critical to immunotherapy and regenerative medicine from one day to the next. Your desired temperature and gas concentrations replicate the in vivo model of any cell culture environment with precision and predictability. Our SafeCell™ CELL CULTURE INCUBATORS and inCu-saFe® technologies protect your work in vitro. Learn more at www.phchd.com/us/biomedical/cell-culture-incubators. MCO-5ACL MCO-18ACL MCO-170AICUV MCO-230AICUV MCO-80IC Select from eight models including your choice of high heat or H2O2 decontamination with CO2 or CO2 /O2 control. 1) Baker, Monya. “1,500 scientists lift the lid on reproducibility.” Nature, no. 533 (May 26, 2016): 452-54. doi:10.1038/533452a. PHC Corporation of North America PHC Corporation of North America is a subsidiary of PHC Holdings Corporation, Tokyo, Japan, a global 1300 Michael Drive, Suite A, Wood Dale, IL 60191 leader in development, design and manufacturing of laboratory equipment for biopharmaceutical, Toll Free USA (800) 858-8442, Fax (630) 238-0074 www.phchd.com/us/biomedical life sciences, academic, healthcare and government markets.
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 reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without 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
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 editorial director editor, laboratory design senior account manager Published by LabX Media Group Trevor Henderson MaryBeth DiDonna Alyssa Moore president email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Mid-Atlantic, Southeast & International Bob Kafato email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org managing editor digital media editor 610.321.2599 Lauren Everett Catherine Crawford-Brown managing partner email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Melanie Dunlop Mario Di Ubaldi West Coast associate editor email@example.com business coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org Rachel Muenz Andrea Cole 888.781.0328 x231 executive vice president email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Ken Piech Reece Alvarez scientific technical editor Northeast email@example.com eMarketing coordinator Michelle Dotzert Laura Quevedo firstname.lastname@example.org production manager email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org 203.246.7598 Greg Brewer art director advertising account managers email@example.com audience development specialist Danielle Gibbons Matthew Gale June Kafato subscription customer service firstname.lastname@example.org Canada / Key Accounts email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com contributors 705.812.2332 publisher, Clinical Lab Manager custom article reprints Brandoch Cook, PhD Edward Neeb Larry Frey The YGS Group Angelo DePalma, PhD firstname.lastname@example.org Midwest email@example.com Sara Goudarzi 203.448.0728 firstname.lastname@example.org 800.290.5460 Tanuja Koppal, PhD 845.735.5548 717.505.9701 x100 Mike May, PhD managing editor, Clinical Lab Manager Vince McLeod, CIH Erica Tennenhouse 1000 N West Street, Suite 1200 Bernard Tulsi email@example.com Wilmington, Delaware, 19801 888.781.0328 March 2020 Lab Manager 7
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
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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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business management 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 email@example.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- ing the miniaturization revolution to become more 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 SAME DAY SHIPPING cells. The same group has even creatively used bubble wraps to store and transport liquid samples for analytical assays. Similarly, the Prakash Lab at Stanford University pioneered a low-cost paper- based microscope with up to 140x magnification and 2 µm resolution. COMPLETE CATALOG 1-800-295-5510 uline.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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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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