Team:Consort Alberta/safety


Revision as of 03:03, 20 June 2014 by NikaylaG (Talk | contribs)

 Home | Our Project | Our Team | Human Practices | Our Notebook | Safety | Attributions | Sponsors | Contact Us


Would any of your project ideas raise safety issues in terms of:

    a) Researcher safety - We follow all protocols and use every precaution while in the lab. Gloves, goggles, and lab coats are utilized at all times. We are in a unique situation in that our lab doubles as a classroom, so many students are in the room throughout the day. Also, our classroom is home to a variety of fish in a sizable aquarium. Because our "lab" plays so many roles in our school, we must ensure that it is kept especially clean and safe for all the individuals who find themselves in it. We have been diligent in terms of cleanliness and, although keeping potentially harmful chemicals in a school classroom creates more of a risk, we have ensured that the event of an accident is next to impossible. Students, visitors and researchers alike are safe in our lab. Parts derived from organisms include: amilCP derived from a coral, Acropora millepora, and GFP derived from derived from jellyfish Aequeora victoria. Neither organisms are harmful or toxic. Any organism from which our DNA is derived or micro organism with which we work in our lab belongs to Risk Group 1 - no or low individual and community risk.

    b) Public safety - As mentioned previously, a wide variety of people spend time in our lab. This ranges from parents and younger siblings on parent-teacher interview nights, to iGEM members, to junior high and senior high students. We have ensured the cleanliness of our lab, disposed of any lab waste properly and locked away any potentially harmful chemicals. Since we are working with a non-toxic strain of E. coli, the threat is relatively low to begin with, but we still strive to demonstrate excellence when cleaning the laboratory workplace.

    c) Environmental safety - There is no aspect of our project that could possibly pose a threat to the surrounding environment. Not only are none of our bacteria toxic, they are contained in our prototype system so that they are never directly exposed to the environment. Even if they were to escape into the open, they are only designed to glow in the presence of xylene, and would hence be impossible to be harmful in any way to the environment.

2. Do any of the new biobrick parts or devices that you made this year raise safety issues?

    Our parts containing the gene XylR do not raise any safety issues. As long as we follow the protocols properly, and other people do as well, no issues regarding safety are present. People could think that since we are trying to detect xylene and benzene that this project could be dangerous, but that is not true at all. The benzene will already be in the soil, regardless of our parts. The bacteria used to contain our biobricks is a non-toxic strain of e. coli. The genes derived from organisms in our biobrick are the following: amilCP derived from a coral, Acropora millepora, and GFP derived from the jellyfish Aequeora victoria. Neither organism is harmful or toxic. Any organism from which our DNA is derived or microorganism with which we work in our lab belongs to Risk Group 1 - no or low individual and community risk.

3. Is there a local biosafety group, committee, or review board at your institution?

    No, we don't have any sort of review board at our institution. In order to maintain a safe lab environment, we have relied mainly on the guidance of our instructors and the information found in our protocol books. We have reviewed the Laboratory Biosafety Manual (Third Edition), to which we found the link on the iGEM website. This means that every student has to be extremely careful and vigilant in the lab. We all take on the responsibility to be safe and smart during our lab work, and that meticulous standard has been upheld throughout the year. We have all familiarized ourselves with various safety protocols, WHIMIS, and other safety procedures regarding our work with iGEM. The entire team has been very responsible and safe in disposing of, handling, and dealing with the E.coli and other potentially harmful substances. Our supervisor has been present for the duration of all of our lab work, and we have ensured complete understanding of protocols before undertaking them.

4. Do you have any other ideas on how to deal with safety issues that could be useful for future iGEM competitions?How could parts, devices, and systems be made even safer through biosafety engineering?

    We believe that, more than anything, understanding the procedures and processes is the most important key to safety and success in a biochemistry lab. As long as the researchers involved understand all safety procedures and precautions, risks are minimized and there is a very low chance of something going awry.