Friday, January 29, 2010

Spinning out of control.

"So I had grown bacteria in 2.5 L LB in preparation for a maxi prep and needed to centrifuge them down to a pellet so I could begin. I transferred my solution to centrifuge tubes and placed them in the centrifuge. I didn't remember the exact speed necessary to pellet bacteria (which I have since learned is 6000 xg), but I knew the maximum speed of the centrifuge must be above the necessary speed to pellet bacteria (the maximum speed of the centrifuge being 38,400 xg), so I used that speed. I didn't really worry about the bacteria dying under the pressure since I thought things like that only happened to erythrocytes. Anyway, when I was finally done centrifuging, I noticed that my centrifuge tubes were deformed and stuck in the rotor. Afraid to ask for help, I picked up the rotor and brought it back to my lab bench and pried the tubes out of the rotor with a 5 mL pipet. After successfully retrieving my tubes I realized because they were so deformed, I was unable to take off the cap. Refusing to start over and grow another culture, I used a razor blade to cut through the plastic of the tube so I could remove the top portion (I took a picture of the results). After all this to access the bacterial pellet in the tube, my maxi prep ended up yielding low amounts of DNA, thus forcing me to redo it anyways."

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I hope the lab coat was clean...

"My labmate was in lab one weekend and thought the Geiger counter was acting funny, so he called EH&S (Office of Environment, Health, and Safety) to see if he could get a replacement, forgetting that on the weekends, calls to EH&S are automatically rerouted to the police. He told them, "Yeah, I think the Geiger counter we have is broken and I just wanted to do a sweep of the area to make sure there weren't any spills..." And they were all, "We're coming in!" They stormed the building in hazmat suits and made him take off all his clothes to check for contamination. They wouldn't let people onto the floor. By the time I came in, there were 2 police cars, 1 firetruck, and an ambulance COMPLETE WITH PARAMEDICS STANDING AT THE READY WITH A STRETCHER outside. A hazmat suited guy finally let me into lab and there was my labmate, rocking back and forth in the corner... wearing nothing but a lab coat."