Safety at QGEM 2017
All QGEM members successfully completed extensive lab safety training (under the supervision of our PI), Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) training, and Biosafety Training Level 2 to ensure complete safety working in the wet lab. All wet lab work was performed in research labs with the supervision of graduate students during working hours. Lab safety training included the following:
- Location and use of fire alarms, exits, and extinguishers
- Location and use of eyewash stations, safety showers, first aid kits, chemical spill kits and response cards, laboratory gas shut off valves
- Standard laboratory safety rules, including proper lab wear, protective gear, use of hazardous equipment
- Proper method of disposal and spill response for: biohazardous materials, sharps, chemicals, radioactive material, ethidium bromide gels
- Proper use and handling of autoclaves (undergone with the department's designated trainer)
Risk Group 1 (non-pathogenic organisms) Escherichia coli K-12 cloning strains in regulation with the Canadian Biosafety Standards were used for expressing our constructs. The primary strains of E. coli used for expression were BL21 and PQN4 (a Csg operon deletion mutant obtained from the Neel Joshi lab of Harvard University). These strains of E. coli do not pose any threat to laboratory workers, the general public, or the environment. Standard lab biosafety regulations were followed to ensure that any modified strains were not introduced to people or the environment outside of the lab.