I’m excited to be back with another update from the brand-new 3B lab! It’s been a little bit of a slow going at first here, but work is beginning to pick up in the lab. The key thing on my mind is not losing momentum and not losing focus as we begin to do our own independent work. Tempering this with a little bit of patience, however, is absolutely necessary as you’ll see.
You might be wondering: where would you start in getting a biochemistry/biology research laboratory together? For me, it began before I even got into my new building. Recall back to our discussion on putting together an application packet for academic positions in an earlier post. Many of the institutions asked me to submit a budget, and this budget had to contain a list of what I felt I needed to have to get the lab up and running. After some negotiation I was able to develop a budget that my school was able to fund. Those funds were finally released to our lab in late August/September for the first year and we’ve started putting them to good use.
Once you get money for your research and you have a budget set, you go about spending it. That’s honestly what I spent most of the month of September/October doing. There’s always a lead-time for things that you order no matter where you go. Here it’s pretty quick; it’s only about a week or so. One of the most fun things about being a new (and funded) professor is seeing the boxes come in like gifts on Christmas morning. We also had to spend an entire day cleaning out the lab, and putting new items on shelves. My advice to any new science ventures (academic/startup industry labs/garage labs(?)) would be: order everything you need at least a month ahead of when you expect to use it. Most times it’s much better to have something show up a week early rather than a week late. Also, don’t underestimate the difficulty that you might have and the time that you need to spend in just organizing everything. Keep a good stock list for the lab as well! I like to use online resources such as Quartzy but an excel spreadsheet on a shared Cloud drive works just as well. There’s no need to keep a list of everything in a paper form anymore, in my humble opinion. Finally, make sure to keep all the paper invoices in the off chance that the NIH comes to town and audits you!
Just physically getting things into lab is the first hurdle I had to get over. Maybe I underestimated the task a little bit. As you can see above, we’ve finally cleared out most of the old junk in the lab and put brand-new equipment on the tables. We’ve also cleared out some bench-space for people to do their work and cleaned out an old hood. I’m still waiting to set up the cell culture capabilities but that’ll be an entirely separate post (hopefully late in this semester or over the Winter Break). Next time I’ll talk a little bit about the new students in the lab and how I go about recruiting. Thanks for reading and have a good weekend!