@Students: FAQ BioLab

Who can use BioLab?

BioLab is open to students and associates in all faculties. They must observe the opening hours or office hours and register in advance with the associates in the lab.

What prerequisites are there for access to BioLab?

BioLab and one on-site associate are available to students during opening hours. To be able to work in BioLab, students must first be onboarded. The onboarding information is provided at the beginning of the first semester and refreshed every year.

During onboarding, students receive all the relevant information on the general rules of behaviour in laboratories, best microbiological practice, occupational safety, and bioethics. Students must also be aware of the operating instructions that are on hand in the laboratory.
For certain devices, including the sterile workbench, centrifuge, laboratory fume hood, autoclave, pressure cooker, and incubation shaker, additional instruction is required. To be provided upon consultation.

Where do I find basic information about working in BioLab?

In every semester break, we hold getting started workshops on the following topics as an introduction to working in BioLab:

  • Research&Plan: Research strategies, databases, papers on research topics
  • Measure&Mix: Basics for biology/chemistry laboratories: weighing out, using pipettes, producing culture media and buffers
  • Grow&Cultivate: Basics of microbiology: cultivation and storage of algae/bacteria/fungi, general handling, maintaining sterile conditions
  • Extract&Harvest: Extraction and purification methods for DNA, proteins, fats, sugars
  • Manipulate&Model: Basics of molecular biology, DNA, PCR, theoretical genetic engineering

How do I prepare for my time in the lab?

Students consult with BioLab’s associates regarding their project in advance. They are requested to do so during office hours.

Before beginning to work in the lab, laboratory management must ensure that the required organisms are classified in risk group 1. The classification level can be found in the following databases:

Zentrale Kommission für biologische Sicherheit (listed by Latin name)

German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Students are also advised to compile a list of materials for cultivation and required chemicals, and discuss them with the associates in advance. The lab associates will subsequently settle the procurement of organisms and materials.

What must I observe when working in BioLab?

A clean lab coat, protective goggles, and safety shoes as typical for workshops are mandatory required wear in BioLab. Lab coats and protective goggles are on hand as basic equipment. The doors of the lab must remain closed. Eating and drinking are prohibited.

Students can simulate working in BioLab in advance in the virtual laboratory of BG RCI, the trade association of the raw materials and chemicals industry (in German). Their virtual laboratory is a safety level 2 lab and subject to stricter rules than BioLab.

Which experiments are allowed in BioLab and which are not?

Users may only use non-pathogenic organisms in risk group 1 in BioLab. It is not possible to handle potentially harmful substances. More detailed information on the classification is available from the Central Committee on Biological Safety and in the current Technical Rules for Biological Agents (TRBA), no. 460 for fungi and no. 466 for bacteria. Further, users are only permitted to work with non-genetically modified organisms, i.e., modified organisms (GMO) are not used.

Can I bring organisms into or remove them from BioLab?

Lab associates can permit students to procure their own organisms or remove them from the lab under certain conditions. Prior consultation is required.