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I-270 Innovation Labs: Partner for Life Science & Tech Companies

female scientist in life sciences who works with I-270 Innovation Labs working with microscope

Did you know there is a one-of-a-kind facility located in Frederick, MD which caters to life science and tech companies?  The I-270 Innovation Labs provides a niche lab space offering to launching start-ups, small and medium size companies as well as any company looking to establish a regional satellite location in the BioHealth Capital Region.  

With leases as short as 6 months and up to as long as needed, I-270 Innovation Labs offers flexibility to organizations who have short to medium term needs, or a need for high quality lab space to bridge organizational needs while a long-term space is being planned and constructed.  

As a member of the I-270 Innovation Labs, the monthly rent is inclusive of WiFi, Utilities, access to on demand lab equipment, conference & collaboration rooms, DI water, co-working infrastructure, biohazard waste disposal, autoclave and glass wash services, and so much more which makes I-270 Innovation Labs a great partner for all types of life science and tech companies!

Equipment and Supplies 

At the I-270 Innovation Labs, one of the featured amenities for their members is access to quality on demand lab equipment.  Through a strategic partnership with BaneBio, members can utilize on demand lab equipment that has been curated by the members of the I-270 Innovation Labs and supplied by BaneBio.  

All the equipment at I-270 Innovation Labs is maintained by BaneBio’s expert service team, which helps to minimize costly member equipment budgets and service calls.  I-270 Innovation Labs members also receive discounts through the partnership with BaneBio when either renting equipment as a part of a member sublease or an outright purchase of the equipment from BaneBio.  

Either way, I-270 Innovation Labs members can continue their scientific or tech work with confidence knowing BaneBio is available for equipment service and support.  

Logistics Services 

At the I-270 Innovation Labs, the strategic partnership with BaneBio assists their members by providing Lab Logistics Services.  BaneBio takes care of all the internal movements of equipment within the I-270 Innovation Labs.  

In addition, BaneBio offers Lab Logistics service to many companies in the BioHealth Capital Region.  Whether moving a single piece of equipment or a whole lab, contact the Lab Logistics experts at BaneBio for a quote.  I-270 Innovation Labs members can take advantage of this valuable service and receive discounts based on their membership.    

Room to Grow

At I-270 Innovation Labs, the heavy lifting of designing and building a great flexible lab space has already been done.  Every lab at the I-270 Innovation Labs includes dedicated outlets for various power requirements, ethernet ports for a more connected lab, HVAC to minimize possible cross contamination, wet lab ready plumbing, lab sink, lab benches, extra wide doors for large equipment, various size labs, anti-microbial epoxy flooring, and co-working infrastructure to minimize ‘office space’ within the lab and to provide more room for important lab work.  

The I-270 Innovation Labs is the right place to grow. There’s no need to start from scratch, commit to a fixed location or floor plan, or spread yourself too thin. Focus your resources on discovery and development. Invest more in talent and science, and less in space and equipment.


I-270 Innovation Labs was built with flexibility in mind.  From the design aspects of every lab to the amount of space needed and minimal lease terms, all types of organizations can find a home at I-270 Innovation Labs.  

Many similar facilities in the BioHealth Capital Region, which are run by local or state governments, can be more restrictive in leasing terms and will take equity from companies if they choose to move outside of the jurisdiction.  There is no equity assignment demanded from members of I-270 Innovation Labs, so that members can focus on making their business great and retain independence on where they move to next.  

Members of the I-270 Innovation Labs can access high-quality, purpose-built, Flex Wet Labs and Dry Labs, multimodal working spaces, and right-sized, key resources. If you need even greater flexibility, start out with an Individual Flex Bench, and get to innovate alongside Members at a similar growth stage and beyond, including established Enterprises.

The I-270 Innovation Labs is a unique offering for companies needing flexible lab space.  When compared to identifying a location, negotiating a lease, project management for buildout, and providing a personal or business guarantee for the duration of the lease, I-270 Innovation Labs is a No-Brainer for your next location.  

In case you need further incentive, to become a member at the I-270 Innovation Labs there is:

  • No Equity Surrender
  • No Personal Guaranty
  • No Financials/Projections
  • No Long-Term Commitment
  • No NNN/CAM
  • No Government Affiliation
  • No Fluff!

Whether you are getting ready to establish a regional satellite location, or expand into the BioHealth Capital Region, the I-270 Innovation Labs is the leading choice of tech and biotech enterprises that:

  • Have short- or medium-term needs for additional, highquality lab space or are unsure about their medium to long term requirements.
  • Do not currently have the bandwidth or financial resources to commission and manage the additional specialized infrastructure their operations demand.
  • Need or will need to quickly, and cost-effectively ramp up/down their operations.
  • Require on-demand access to reliable lab equipment and instrumentation, and/or cold and ULT storage with power backup options.
  • Want to provide teams or individuals with flexible, remote workplaces, and/or training location alternatives that include access to lab infrastructure and services.

Check out I-270 Innovation Labs and schedule a tour.

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10 Most Important Pieces of Lab Safety Equipment

lab station with lab safety equipment such as goggles and gloves

Safety is paramount in any laboratory setting, and understanding the potential risks involved is crucial. In this blog, we’ll highlight the ten essential pieces of equipment you should always have.

Lab Coats

These shield you from chemical spills and splashes, protecting your clothing and skin. Donning a lab coat reduces the risk of contamination and personal injury.

Safety Goggles

The importance of safeguarding your vision can’t be overstated. These goggles protect your eyes from potential injuries during experiments involving chemicals or other hazards.


These prevent your hands from coming into contact with harmful substances. Wearing the right type of gloves for your specific laboratory tasks protects your skin. This is essential for your personal safety and contamination control.

Emergency Shower and Eyewash Station

In the event of a chemical spill or an eye exposure incident, it’s vital to have quick access to emergency showers and eyewash stations. Your skin and eyes are delicate, and even a few seconds of delay can result in a serious injury. Emergency showers and eyewash stations allow users to wash away hazardous materials, providing immediate decontamination.

Fire Extinguisher

A suitable fire extinguisher is a must-have in any lab to address potential fire hazards. First, It’s important to understand that not all fire extinguishers work the same way on all flames. Next, be sure you know how to use it effectively. Remember the acronym PASS which stands for:

  • Pull the pin
  • Aim
  • Squeeze
  • Sweep

Watch this video to see how to select and properly use the correct fire extinguisher.

Fume Hood

A fume hood is a ventilated enclosure designed to safely handle and contain potentially hazardous fumes, chemicals, or particulates. It’s equipped with an exhaust system that vents air away from the lab’s work areas. This protects users and the surrounding environment from exposure to harmful substances.

First Aid Kit

Every lab needs a fully-stocked first aid kit to care for minor injuries promptly. Make sure it has:

  • Medical gloves
  • Bandages, sterile pads, and adhesive tape
  • Scissors
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Breathing barrier
  • Burn dressings
  • Instant ice pack
  • Eye patch
  • Hand sanitizer

Be sure to regularly check and replenish the kit’s contents so it’s fully stocked and ready when needed.

Spill Kits

Accidents happen, and chemical spills can occur. Having spill kits on hand makes it possible to quickly clean up after such incidents, minimizing risks and overall environmental impact. Designed to soak up liquids, according to Iowa State University, these kits should contain:

  • A copy of the Spill Cleanup Protocol
  • Nitrile disposable gloves (8 mil)
  • Lab coat(s)
  • Safety goggles
  • N95 dust mask respirator(s)
  • Disposable shoe covers (booties)
  • Absorbent material, such as absorbent paper towels, granular absorbent material, etc. 
  • All-purpose disinfectants, such as normal household bleach (diluted 1:10) or an iodophor
  • Bucket for diluting disinfectant (this can be used to store the kit contents when not in use)
  • Tongs and/or forceps, and/ or dustpan and hand broom or squeegee, etc. (for picking up broken glass or other contaminated sharps)
  • Sharps waste container(s) 
  • Autoclavable biohazard waste bags
  • Biohazardous spill warning signs (“Biohazard Spill Kit”).

Ventilation System

Your lab needs to have an effective ventilation system. This maintains air quality and reduces exposure to harmful substances. It plays a key role in removing fumes and providing a safe breathing environment.

Safety Signs

Posting clear safety signs communicates potential hazards and guidelines effectively. They promote awareness and adherence to safety protocols, helping everyone work more safely.

Staying Safe

Prioritizing safety in your laboratory is non-negotiable. With these ten essential pieces of lab safety equipment, you can create a secure environment for yourself and your colleagues. Remember, safety should always come first in the lab. For more information, reach out to BaneBio today. 

Works Cited

Biohazard Spill Kit. Iowas State University Environmental Health and Safety. Retrieved November 10, 2023, from

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A Brief History of Centrifuges

scientist preparing to use centrifuge for experiment

Centrifuges are devices that can spin objects at high speeds in order to separate their components. This incredible tool has played an important role in various fields for many years. Let’s travel back through time and explore their fascinating history. 

Early Beginnings

In 1864, Antonin Prandtl invented a type of centrifuge machine to separate cream from milk in a dairy. In 1869, Swiss biologist and physician Friedrich Miescher built upon Prandtl’s invention. He became the first person to apply the principle of centrifugation in the lab.

However, the first truly continuous separating centrifugation product was developed by Gustaf de Laval. He took Prandt’s design and added turbines to it. In 1878 he and Oskar Lamm used that technology to patent a milk separator with one pipe for cream and another for milk. The principles of continuous centrifugation are still used today.

World War II

During World War II, centrifuges took on a new, darker role. They became invaluable tools in wartime research, specifically the Manhattan Project. They were used to separate isotopes, a crucial step in the creation of the atomic bomb. 

Medical and Scientific Advancements

As time went on, centrifuges made their way into the world of healthcare and scientific research. Centrifugation became crucial for tasks like blood separation, which is essential in diagnostics and treatment. In many laboratories, this tool still plays an important role in separating and analyzing substances, driving revolutionary scientific discoveries.

Modern Applications

Today, centrifuges have made their way into the fields of biology and food production. According to Science Direct, they are “One of the most useful and frequently employed techniques in the molecular biology laboratory” (Stephenson). In biology, they’re used to separate DNA, proteins, and cells, creating advancements in genetic research and disease diagnostics. In the food industry, they continue to be used to separate solid from liquid components, making processes like olive oil extraction and beer brewing more efficient. As technology has advanced, they have become faster, safer, and more accurate.


Centrifuges have come a long way from their early beginnings as mere spinning devices. They have left a lasting impact on various fields, from the arms races of World War II to today’s cutting-edge laboratories. Their relevance and importance remain strong and continue to grow, making them an indispensable tool in the modern world. For more information on how they can be best utilized in your lab, reach out to BaneBio!

Works Cited

Stephenson, Frank H. “Calculations for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (Third Edition).” 2016, ScienceDirect,,Centrifugation%20is%20used%20to%20collect%20cells%2C%20to%20precipitate%20DNA%2C%20to,using%20a%20variety%20of%20rotors

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Five Things to Consider When Buying Lab Equipment

lab worker using microscope

Whether you’re outfitting a brand-new laboratory or simply in the market to make some much-needed equipment purchases for your lab, there are many different factors to consider when buying lab equipment. Before you pull out your wallet or charge that microscope to your credit card, you might want to consider a few key details before purchasing lab equipment.


First, you’ll need to know how much you can afford to spend on equipment for your lab. It might not matter how badly you need something. Too pricey is too pricey. Luckily, it may be possible to apply for grants or other sources of funding so that you’ll be able to make those most needed and potentially life-saving purchases for your lab.


Naturally, you’ll want to do some research to ensure that any equipment you decide to buy is of the finest quality and includes the latest technology. You wouldn’t want to purchase something that’s already outdated or on the verge of being obsolete. That would just mean you’d have to replace it again in the not-too-distant future.

Doing a bit of research early on in your buying experience will save you time and money in the long run. You can always ask friends or colleagues for their opinion on equipment brands, as well as check out product reviews online. 


In order to make certain that your laboratory’s equipment has the ultimate level of functionality, you’ll want to pay attention to the equipment’s features. Be sure to scrutinize specs, benefits, and uses.

In the end, you want to make sure that you’re buying high-quality equipment that will be long-lasting and capable of performing the tasks you need to have done. A piece of equipment can’t help you very much if it isn’t able to do the job, you’re purchasing it to do.


No matter what type of lab equipment you decide to buy, get the warranty! If it’s not clear whether one is available, check with either your equipment’s seller or manufacturer to confirm it’s covered by a warranty. If on the off chance your new lab equipment malfunctions or fails to operate at its best capacity, having the warranty will save you a lot of hassle in either getting a replacement or a refund. 

New or Pre-Owned Equipment

Do you want to buy new or pre-owned lab equipment? Both of these choices will offer their own pros and cons. Buying new is always exciting, as it’s shiny, clean, and has never known wear and tear. It’s important in some cases, but don’t underestimate the durability and reliability of pre-owned equipment. If it’s been inspected, quality tested, and backed by warranty, you can rest assured it works as intended. Pre-owned products are always much lower in price than new ones, so your wallet will thank you!

Lab equipment is a big investment, and taking some time to research and weigh your options is an important step in the buying process. BaneBio is always ready to help you make the choice that’s best for your lab. Get in touch, so you can get to work!

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Manual-Fill vs. Automatic-Fill Dewars: What’s the Difference, and Why It Matters

scientist using cryogenic container

Cryogenic-storage options: decisions, decisions…

Labs make critical and calculated decisions daily, yet when it comes to choosing between a manual or automatic dewar system, investing depends on which type best suits your lab’s needs. 

What are liquid nitrogen dewars?

Liquid nitrogen dewars, invented by Sir. James Dewar of London in 1892, allows fluids to be maintained at low temperatures for a certain amount of time. Over the years, the dewar system has seen several iterations, innovations, and is simple in construction and design. The non-pressurized, air-jacketed structure includes two or more layers that are vacuum-sealed to prevent leaks, providing safety and thermal retention insulation. These freezers store tissues, cells, or other samples at temperatures reaching a frosty -196℃. The dewar has a loose-fitting plug or cap that is movable, preventing moisture and air from entering the chamber yet allowing liquid nitrogen evaporation. 

Manual-fill pros and cons

For the basic manual-fill dewar, the biggest win is its cost-effectiveness. The simple design means fewer problems with the freezer’s function. Once the tank is manually filled to the desired level, checking for evaporation rates, signs of frost on the outside of the tank, and monitoring for leaks is all it takes to keep it running in top form. Space within a lab is a precious commodity. These systems typically take up less real estate than their autofill counterpart by not requiring LN2 storage directly next to the freezer. 

One of the downsides of manual-fill systems includes checking liquid nitrogen numbers daily. The liquid nitrogen is generally topped off every two weeks, depending on how the freezer is accessed to retrieve items inside. Levels must be constantly watched, meaning there’s more room for error, which can affect samples. While investing in a monitoring system can help you keep an eye on LN2 tank levels, temperatures still must be monitored. That additional process equals time and energy that could be spent focused on other lab tasks. 

Autofill pros and cons

The name says it all: autofill systems do the heavy lifting for you. A liquid nitrogen source is connected to the tank and maintains LN2 levels automatically. Visual and audible alarms will alert if there is a system malfunction. Autofill also provides greater capacity to store LN2, alleviating the constant fear of running low. 

Here’s where autofill systems become tricky: there must always be an LN2 source stocked and functioning. Without it, the temperature could be compromised, leaving stored samples in a precarious situation. Autofill systems are pricier and they require more work to install and get running. Configuring the condensation collection system for moisture that pools on the transfer hose and installing the pressure regulator requires precision and accuracy for the system to work correctly. The investment in an autofill system can be hefty as can the uptick in electricity usage—huge considerations when considering budgets and the bottom line. 

Which is the system for you?

When you’re unsure which cryogenic system works best for your space, or an upgrade is in your future, let BaneBio help you sort through the details and secure the right storage for your lab’s needs!

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Top 5 Cold Storage Unit Best Practices

scientist handling cold storage unit

Your cold storage units are the unsung heroes in your lab. They’re the pieces of equipment you never think about until they stop working.

Here are five best practices for your cold storage units:

1. Make Sure The Cold Storage Unit is Evenly Stocked

An improperly stocked freezer is prone to extreme temperature shifts when the doors are opened. A good rule of thumb is to try to keep the equipment at least 30% full if possible. If this isn’t possible, add a few gel packs or sealed water bottles to keep the temperatures consistent.

Conversely, don’t overstock your cold storage. Not only will this block airflow inside the unit, it will cause your staff to keep the doors open longer searching for items. 

Avoid stocking materials that are extremely sensitive to temperature fluctuations on the top or bottom shelf of the unit. Instead, place them on the middle shelves of the unit to help them maintain a steady temperature.

2. Keep Your Cold Storage Equipment Cleaned and Sanitized

The best way to discourage bacterial contamination in your cold storage units is to make sure they are regularly cleaned and disinfected. A soft rag and a neutral cleaner is best for this task.

If possible, remove shelves and wipe them down, allowing them to dry completely before returning them to the unit. Clean both the interior and the exterior of the unit, paying attention to the coils as well.

To properly clean the condenser coils, use a vacuum, air jet, or a dry brush. Clean coils keep the heat exchanger working optimally, increasing the lifespan of the equipment while reducing its energy usage.

Never use bleach or harsh disinfectants that could potentially harm your equipment.

3. Frost Control

While no laboratory wants to place a cold storage unit out of service, it’s necessary to schedule a defrost at least once per year, or whenever the frost is more than one centimeter thick. This increases the unit’s energy efficiency and ensures an even temperature. Use this time to check all gaskets and door seals to make sure they’re still sealing properly.

4. Labels Facing Out

Position all items in cold storage with the labels facing out to ensure staff can quickly find what they’re looking for. This helps reduce the amount of time the unit’s doors are open. Discourage random repositioning of stored items. Your lab may even benefit from a spreadsheet that outlines where items are stored in the unit.

5. Replace Cold Storage Units In Time

As cold storage units age, they’ll become increasingly unreliable and consume more energy. You may find your lab is frequently repairing older units. As a rule, the average lifespan of a cold storage unit is twelve to fifteen years. If your equipment is nearing its end of life, consider purchasing a new one or replacing it with a newer used one.

BaneBio is Your Partner for New and Used Cold Storage Equipment

If it’s time to replace your lab freezer or refrigerator, BaneBio has the products you need. Whether you’re looking at a new piece or a certified used piece, browse our products and find your perfect replacement. We accept trade-ins and purchase used lab equipment as well. Reach out to us and learn more!

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Depot Repair: Small Laboratory Equipment Repair Made Easy

back of female scientist working in lab

If your large equipment fails, field repair services are the perfect solution to keep your lab running smoothly. If your smaller equipment fails, however, depot repair may be your best option.

What is Depot Repair?

Depot repair involves packaging and shipping laboratory equipment to a qualified biomedical equipment technician for repair, calibration, or preventive maintenance. Once the services are complete, the equipment is returned to your lab for immediate use.

When smaller equipment needs maintenance or repairs, outsourcing services provides the fastest, most economical solutions your lab needs to stay productive.

Why is Depot Repair the Best Choice for Your Small Lab Equipment?

Choosing a qualified laboratory equipment depot repair provider ensures professional services from a team of highly qualified and skilled biomedical technicians. 

What does depot repair mean for your lab?

Streamlined Lab Equipment Repairs and Maintenance

Rather than waiting for field repair technicians to come to you, depot repairs can begin as soon as your equipment is received. Once the services are completed, the equipment is shipped back to your facility for immediate use. There is no middle-man involved; the best laboratory equipment repair facilities will perform these services in-house.

Your repaired equipment will be returned with detailed documentation for your records of the services performed. Many depot repair facilities offer equipment rentals or temporary replacement of equipment that requires extensive repairs.

Depot Repair Saves Money on Laboratory Equipment Servicing

From storing broken equipment to lost productivity and the costs of bringing an on-site technician to your facility for repairs, lab equipment repair can take a bite out of a lab’s budget

Depot repair saves money by eliminating an on-site repair fee. It also allows equipment to be sent out immediately rather than being stored somewhere awaiting repairs.

Increase Your Lab Equipment’s Longevity and Performance

Depot repair services cover more than just fixing broken or failing equipment. Creating a schedule to send your smaller lab equipment out for routine preventive maintenance is a great way to stay on top of manufacturer’s recommendations and ensure your equipment is working optimally.

BaneBio: Depot Repair Services Maryland Labs Rely On

BaneBio offers depot repair for smaller lab instruments that can be properly packaged and shipped. Our in-house equipment service facility will professionally repair your equipment and return it to you quickly, cutting down on lost productivity in your lab. 

Microfuge or other equipment on the fritz? Contact BaneBio for a no obligation assessment and recommendation.

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How to Determine & Maintain a Laboratory Budget

woman researcher looking through microscope

Whether you’re starting up a new lab or looking to improve or make budget cuts to an existing one, determining and maintaining a laboratory budget is the most important “next step” to take. Underfunded and understaffed; where do you start? Here’s a look at some helpful tips for creating a laboratory budget that you and your techs can live with.

Don’t Just Jump Into Buying Major Equipment

You may be tempted to start purchasing major equipment right away, but the secret to determining and maintaining your laboratory budget is understanding what you “need” and what’s “nice to have.” 

  1. Split your equipment list into several categories, including essential, ancillary, and wishlist. 
  • Essential equipment includes the tools you need to store and test your samples, such as refrigerators, microscopes, and centrifuges.
  • Ancillary equipment is also necessary to support your essential equipment. This list includes tubes, beakers, chemical reagents, and pipettes.
  • Wishlist: This is equipment that you need in the future, although for now you can borrow the equipment from a shared facility.
  1. Don’t forget that common equipment, such as refrigerators or appliances, as well as some supplies including paper towels and cleaning solutions are available at lower prices at some of the big box stores.
  1. Buying used lab equipment is a great way to save money on your lab budget. You can also ask for donations of equipment from other laboratories or partnering labs within your facility.
  1. Always look into purchasing the extended warranties and protections on your equipment to save money on repair or replacement.
  1. Preventive maintenance is a key factor in keeping your existing equipment running efficiently. 

Ongoing Costs

Once your initial setup is complete, it’s time to consider what consumables you will be using monthly. Your employees and team members will have a better idea of how many supplies they use monthly, so their input is a valuable resource.

It may take you a month or two to get the most accurate picture, but it’s estimated that an average sized lab will spend around $1000 a month on supplies such as pipettes, gloves, tubes, and slides. Next estimate how many antibodies, enzymes, and testing kits you will need to operate and add this into your basic recurring lab supply cost. Now add the cost of cleaning and maintenance supplies, as well as utility bills and rent or mortgage.

Lastly, look at your personnel spend (salaries, benefits, vacation, and sick days) and add that into the ongoing cost list.

Don’t Be Afraid to Make a Change

When balancing your laboratory budget, you may need to switch suppliers to ensure you are getting the lowest prices on your equipment and supplies. If you’re comfortable with the quality of supplies you are getting from your current supplier, don’t hesitate to reach out and try to negotiate a better price.

Be aware that not all suppliers have the same brands and not all brands are equal. Do a little legwork and research reviews on unfamiliar brands and suppliers before partnering with a new one.

Hiring Personnel is One of The Biggest Laboratory Spends 

By far, hiring and retaining qualified lab personnel is one of the biggest laboratory budget expenditures your lab manager will face. Here are a few ways to keep this spend down a little.

Make your lab environment inviting: Not just the lab facilities, but in the job culture. People are willing to take a little less money in salary if they truly love their jobs.

Provide educational and advancement opportunities: You can decrease turnover in your laboratory by providing continuing education and opportunities to advance. You can add a caveat, such as the minimum amount of time an employee must work to qualify for these perks, or negotiating how much time they will need to spend with your organization if they take advantage of educational opportunities.

Go shopping for eager students: Undergraduate and postgraduate students interested in the sciences can provide much of the help you need in the lab. These students can work as assistants in any number of departments. You may be able to contact universities and see if you can offer credit to student volunteers.

Offer great benefits: Circling back to the happy employee, offering great benefits is a way to make the job more inviting when you can’t pay candidates quite as much as a competitor could. A generous vacation policy, affordable health benefits, buy-in retirement plans, or even stock options can be used as leverage for your potential candidates. The costs of these benefits will be far less than the costs of high-turnover rates such as constantly training and equipping new employees.

Determining and Maintaining a Laboratory Budget: Keeping the Records

Now that you’ve created a basic guideline for creating your laboratory budget, it’s time to put it altogether. Excel spreadsheets are one option, but they can be cumbersome and confusing.

Many labs turn to solutions such as Quicken, QuickBooks, and other online budget software.

Once you’ve determined your budget, inform your teams of how it will affect them. Ultimately, it will be a shared responsibility to maintain the laboratory budget.

BaneBio has ways to keep your laboratory running within budget, from used equipment to cost- saving preventive maintenance contracts and repair services. Contact us today and let us show you how we can keep your operations running efficiently and economically.

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Laboratory Pack-up & Relocation – Everything You Need To Know, Part 1

technician working in lab

When It’s Time to Move Your Lab

There’s no getting around it: moving a laboratory is a complex process that involves meticulous attention to detail, making it a stressful experience for all concerned. The actual move date will likely be preceded by 4–6 months of careful planning, even if you follow most lab managers’ recommendation that you hire an experienced lab relocation specialist. Outsourcing the project to a lab relocation specialist will minimize the move’s impact on your operation’s scientific mission and productivity.

Moving usually signals that new and exciting opportunities are ahead for a company, but it’s still critically important to plan correctly and take into account all aspects of the experience. For example, although it is important to plan out the logistics of the physical move, it is also important to take into account its emotional impact. A relocation is not only disruptive to the physical plant, but the introduction of a lab relocation specialist will change the dynamics of the organization. A good lab relocation manager will take the time to establish trust and respect with your entire team, and foster productive, collaborative relationships between his move team and your technicians, administrative personnel, and lab leads.

Make keeping everyone informed a top priority. So they can plan accordingly, your team will want to know not just the date for the move itself, but also when the equipment they use will no longer be available. Remember to talk to the facilities manager in the building you are vacating and your contact in the building you are moving into as soon as possible. These individuals will oversee everything from the disconnection and connection of your utilities to the availability of packing/unpacking areas and loading docks.

Every lab relocation is different with different priorities and steps needed to ensure a smooth and seamless transition. However, establishing a timeline is will help keep the process on track:

Two to Three Months Before the Move

  • Tour existing and new lab space with your lab transition planner and your architect.
  • Develop equipment binders and review responsibility matrix.
  • Dispose of old files, old chemicals, and old samples.
  • Notify vendors, the mail room, and other relevant parties that the lab has relocated.
  • Secure keys and access to the new space.
  • Identify who will pack the equipment and move it.
  • Set a start date and time-frame.
  • Establish a timeline to shut down certain pieces to prepare for move.
  • Send out RFP for specialist movers (chemical, equipment).

Two to Three Weeks Before the Move

  • Have boxes, tags, and other materials delivered to the lab so that packing can begin
  • Begin labeling each piece of equipment with a separate label that includes the name of the lab, the phase of the move in which it should be handled, and where it should be placed in the new lab.
  • Tour the new space to ensure connections are compatible with incoming equipment.
  • Identify move route for key equipment, checking door and height/weight clearances.

Day of the Move

  • Chemical movers pack up the chemicals in special containers.
  • General movers pack items not already packed.
  • Freezers are placed on the truck last so they can be unpacked first, positioned and plugged in.

Post-Move Follow Up

  • Tour the vacated lab to ensure all items have been moved.
  • Coordinate the calibration of equipment.

We can’t stress enough how important it is to have a lab relocation specialist working with you to ensure a smooth and trouble-free transition and restart. Using spreadsheets, templates, checklists and other tools, a good lab relocation specialist will create a lab transition plan that will make this complex process as clear, straightforward and incident-free as possible.

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Choosing the Right Incubator for Your Lab

The CO2 incubator is a critical piece of lab equipment designed to create and reliably maintain a sterile, pH-optimized, humidified, in vitro environment for the culture of living tissues or cells. 

There are two main types of incubators: direct heat and water jacket. In order to determine which type of incubator best suits your needs, it’s important to review and evaluate the advantages and drawbacks of each. Because different cell types respond differently to temperature fluctuations, hypoxia, and vibrations, it is also critical to review your choices of incubator in light of which types of cells you plan to incubate, and where you plan to place the incubator within your lab. 

Once you have determined the ideal living conditions for your cells, and where the incubator will be placed within your lab, use the five considerations below to choose the right incubator for your needs:  

Know the advantages and drawbacks of direct heat vs. water jacket incubators.
A water jacket incubator has a water-filled layer, or “jacket”, surrounding the growth chamber. The water within the jacket circulates, creating a relatively uniform interior temperature and thermal buffer against outside air fluctuations. Because water jacket incubators can hold heat up to five times longer than direct heat units, they are especially advantageous in the event of a power outage. A water jacket also reduces vibrations, which is valuable when you are working with sensitive cells. 

Keep in mind, however, that water jacket incubators are very heavy when filled, and can take up to 24 hours to reach a stable operating temperature. Also, because they are not designed to operate at temperatures high enough to sterilize or decontaminate, gas decontamination may be required.

Like water jacket units, direct heat incubators also heat the inner chamber through conduction; however the inner walls of the unit have direct contact with heating coils instead of the water jacket. This results in more rapid temperature changes. Rather than the 24 hours a water-jacket unit takes to reach required temperature, setup of a direct heat incubator takes only eight hours. Its heating coils can also reach temperatures to sufficiently sterilize and decontaminate. 

On the other hand, because the direct heat incubator’s heating coils have very specific contact points on the inner walls, the inner chambers of this type of incubator are less uniformly heated and are more susceptible to changing ambient air temperature and temperature fluctuations. When temperature stability is critical, a water jacket incubator may be more suitable for your needs.

Determine where within the lab the incubator will be located.
Because the environment that surrounds the incubator affects the way it functions, determining where the unit will be located is important before you make a decision. A water jacket incubator works best in a “hot spot” or if the ambient temperature of the lab changes frequently. The water conduction system is significantly more resistant to external temperature changes than are the coils of a direct heat incubator. If the incubator is to be placed near equipment that vibrates heavily such as a centrifuge, a water jacket unit will minimize this movement. 

Assess the humidity controls of the incubator.
The ability to maintain the ideal humidity within the incubator is critical because it prevents evaporation from the cell culture. When water evaporates from the media, the concentration of amino acids, salts, and metabolites spikes, causing osmotic pressure to rise and subsequent damage to cells. Regulating the amount and type of airflow that occurs within the chamber also affects the rate of evaporation. Some incubators have introduced systems to slow the airflow to minimize evaporation and avoid drying out cell cultures. When comparing incubators based on this feature, look for the number of air exchanges over time within the inner chamber.

Decide if hypoxic control is necessary and determine accuracy of gas sensors.
Preserving a healthy level of carbon dioxide within an incubator is important because the interaction of CO2 with the cell culture media determines the media’s pH. Many incubators use conventional thermal conductivity (TC) sensors, but newer models rely on a type of infrared (IR) sensor that is less sensitive to chamber humidity and temperature. 

Oxygen levels can also have drastic effects on the growth of some cultures such as stem cells or primary tissues. An incubator with O2 controls uses nitrogen gas to lower the concentration of O2 within the growth chamber. Evaluating the need in your lab for this type of gas control measure is an important consideration when purchasing an incubator.

Consider options for constant contamination control.
Contaminants can be entered into the incubator simply by opening the door. When an incubator is maintained with positive pressure within the growth chamber, airflow into the chamber is minimized—preventing airborne contamination. Internal air is then forced through a HEPA filter to provide an extra layer of sterilization. 

Note that a HEPA filter installed inside the growth chamber can be problematic, especially if the blower’s motor stops, causing contaminants from the filter to fall on your cultures. Consider an externally mounted HEPA filter for easier service and repair, and to protect cells from potential contaminants. If sterility of cultures is a top priority, be especially mindful of an incubator’s contamination controls prior to purchase. 

A well-designed, properly functioning laboratory often includes incubators to keep cells growing well and protected from contaminants. Taking the time to assess your needs in light of these five considerations will help you make an appropriate choice.