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Lab Cock-ups

  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 321 ✭✭ fishtastico


    I've just realised this morning that I got the wrong concentration of protease in my sample, so after reversing cross-links on my DNA, instead of having a nice solution I can run on a gel, I've ended up with something that looks like snot.

    So what I want to know is, how often do you guys make a mess of things?


Comments



  • We developed a quantitative survey questionnaire with ordinal level numerical scales that was to be input using a mechanical scanner programmed to seamlessly dump the raw data into an SPSS data base for analysis.

    The survey questionnaire draft was subject to review by an expert panel, revised, then piloted twice with revisions, special attention being paid to the comment section at the end of the pilot surveys to essentially eliminate labour-intensive and problematic qualitative comments in the final survey instrument. The comment section in the last pilot had only one comment out of 30 surveys, the remaining 29 left blank.

    As a final check on the validity of our survey, we left a very small comment section at the end of the final instrument.

    After drawing a random sample of our population, we administered our survey, and much to our dismay, approximately a quarter of our sample returned with qualitative comments at the end of the instrument; comments ranging in length from a sentence up to one respondent that included a 2-page single spaced attachment.

    Given the size of our sample, we could perhaps ignore a handful of comments, but this relatively large proportion of surveys with comments forced us to change our original analytic strategy, to where we had to triangulate our SPSS quantitative data with the patterns that emerged from the qualitative comments. This forced us to work around-the-clock in a panic, and we just barely met our grant deadline.

    The project manager was pleased, as was the grant authority, so we partied our brains out shortly after.




  • We developed a quantitative survey questionnaire with ordinal level numerical scales that was to be input using a mechanical scanner programmed to seamlessly dump the raw data into an SPSS data base for analysis.

    The survey questionnaire draft was subject to review by an expert panel, revised, then piloted twice with revisions, special attention being paid to the comment section at the end of the pilot surveys to essentially eliminate labour-intensive and problematic qualitative comments in the final survey instrument. The comment section in the last pilot had only one comment out of 30 surveys, the remaining 29 left blank.

    As a final check on the validity of our survey, we left a very small comment section at the end of the final instrument.

    After drawing a random sample of our population, we administered our survey, and much to our dismay, approximately a quarter of our sample returned with qualitative comments at the end of the instrument; comments ranging in length from a sentence up to one respondent that included a 2-page single spaced attachment.

    Given the size of our sample, we could perhaps ignore a handful of comments, but this relatively large proportion of surveys with comments forced us to change our original analytic strategy, to where we had to triangulate our SPSS quantitative data with the patterns that emerged from the qualitative comments. This forced us to work around-the-clock in a panic, and we just barely met our grant deadline.

    The project manager was pleased, as was the grant authority, so we partied our brains out shortly after.

    WTF??

    Anyways, lab cock ups... they're awesome arent they? one of the most soul destroying things that can happen. Thankfully it doesnt happen too much but when it does, it happens at the end of the day when you really want to go home. one of the funniest ones i had was adding DNA ladder to sample instead of loading buffer..... well i thought it was funny like a week later.




  • A lab cockup led to the discovery of penicillin, didn't it? OP - hold on to that ball of snot & patent it. Never know when it might come in handy....




  • So what I want to know is, how often do you guys make a mess of things?

    Every F*CK*N day

    I've seen people cry in the lab, personally I blame undergrads :o




  • At least once a week.. especially if it's a new PCR and I have to work out the calcs :-) Still haven't quite got the hang of that molar stuff.. :D


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  • WTF??

    hahaha brilliant....always science v's social science huh :)




  • microbio wrote: »
    At least once a week.. especially if it's a new PCR and I have to work out the calcs :-) Still haven't quite got the hang of that molar stuff.. :D

    Thank you! I always thought I was alone! Im so ashamed to admit that Iv studied sciences for practically seven years and still STILL don't really have the hang of working out molarity and molecular weights etc etc.


    The relief is immense!




  • I have no problem with calculating molarity, but I'll always trust what another PhD student says about a Taq, rather than the manufacturer's instructions because I'm convinced that PCR is a dark art that needs to be honed over time and not a science as people keep saying




  • I have no problem with calculating molarity, but I'll always trust what another PhD student says about a Taq, rather than the manufacturer's instructions because I'm convinced that PCR is a dark art that needs to be honed over time and not a science as people keep saying

    We keep a voodoo doll taped onto our pcr machine :p




  • My friend was just starting out in the Lab and was melting down a bottle of agar. Unfortunately for him and the wall opposite the microwave he had forgotten to loosen the cap. BOOM!!! Had to get a new microwave and the wall and ceiling will never be the same


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  • Kensworld wrote: »
    My friend was just starting out in the Lab and was melting down a bottle of agar. Unfortunately for him and the wall opposite the microwave he had forgotten to loosen the cap. BOOM!!! Had to get a new microwave and the wall and ceiling will never be the same

    Sounds kinda familiar!




  • I'm 3 years into my Ph.D. after a 4 year degree, and STILL written on the white board in the lab, and the very first thing I write into any new lab book:

    M = g/MW

    Molarity is not my friend. And don't get me started on NORMALITY... grrr.

    My biggest lab cock-up was about 3 months after I started. I was doing dialysis in the cold room and (either me or someone else) accidently turned on the heat along with the stir on the hotplate. It was a 5 L plastic beaker. It got hot, it melted. Water EVERYWHERE. Including into the socket, which shut off the entire electricity to part of the building. Ooops.




  • mol = grams/molweight

    Molarity (M) = mol/litre


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