- Be familiar with Safe Project Design, Safe Lab Work and Safe shipment
- Know our local guidelines: Seek help from our team instructors and our institution's Biosafety officers
- Ask for help: email safety AT igem DOT org, or join the iGEM team for Virtual Open Office Hours
- Notice the few hard-and-fast rules: don't use organisms from Risk Group 3 or 4, and don’t release our project into the wild
We use only one kind of organism in our experiments, which is Escherichia coli. It is categorized as a Risk Group 1 organism.Based on the official iGEM description, "Risk Group 1 organisms do not cause disease in healthy adult humans."
However, to make sure that we can use everything safely, we always consult our lab technician on the proper usage, storage and disposal of chemicals before doing any experiments.
Safe project design
Safety is what we care the most throughout the whole program. Although the species we have only used is E. coli, which is unlikely to cause any harm to human when used properly, we believe there is still a danger when our bacteria is released into the public environment, especially to children and the elderly. Therefore, we make sure that no bacteria or organisms we used will be released out of the laboratory. While doing any experiment with e. coli, we ensure that the bacteria do not expose to the environment by setting up a sterile space using a Bunsen burner and working in the heated area and seal every used petri dishes with parafilm before long term storage.
Safe lab work
We are also paying great attention to our Biosafety and general safety in our lab work. We are using laboratory with a Biosafety level 1. We also believe that safe lab practices are important, so we emphasise safety through maintaining a high level of personal hygiene and applying good microbiology skills, including wearing lab coats and gloves when doing any experiment as well as washing our hand with soap before leaving the laboratory. We received safety training when joining the team, topics including risk assessment, general precautions, fire precautions, handling chemical spills, disposal of chemical wastes and experiments on biotechnology. Detail of our training can be found here.
: World Health Organisation (2004). Laboratory Biosafety Manual. 3rd ed. Geneva: World Health Organisation. p2-3,9-19.
: World Health Organisation (2004). Laboratory Biosafety Manual. 3rd ed. Geneva: World Health Organisation. P69-93.