Team:WPI Worcester/Safety

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Before working in the lab, each member of the team went through a safety course taught by a member of WPI’s Environmental Health and Safety staff. This training covered everything from who to contact in an emergency to the routes of exposure. We all got a pair of safety goggles that got put to use starting the next day in lab.

In the lab, everyone wore safety goggles and gloves at all times. No food or drink was allowed inside the laboratory space. Every part and organism we worked with, besides our chassis, has a biosafety level of 1. Parts included GFP reporters, and human beta globin genes. Our chassis, HEK293 cells, is the only piece of our system that falls in risk group 2. While working with the mammalian cells, we worked in a hood at all times, not only to keep the cells sterile, but also to protect us.

As our experiment is mostly a proof of concept for precise single base RNA editing in eukaryotic cells, we used a mammalian chassis, which are mostly in risk group 2. In our lab we had access to HEK293 cells, and they are rather easy to maintain. The parts used in the experiment are all risk group 1, and the system is inducible by doxycycline. If something went wrong, doxycycline could be removed from the system, and the transcription of the editing enzymes would stop.

Our lab practices aligned with WPI’s biological safety policies and requirements, which can be found here.