Would any of your project ideas raise safety issues in terms of:
- researcher safety,
- researcher safety, or
- environmental safety?
Our project does not raise any further safety issues for researcher, public or environmental safety. All team members are skilled in laboratory work and were briefed in potential health risks and hazards of the chemicals and equipment used, they where further introduced in the rules of good laboratory practice (GLP) by the officer of safety in our department. Chemicals are stored in corresponding flasks in separate lockers. All chemicals were stored and used according to their properties including H/R guidelines. Further on our team members are well trained in practical lab work by their university education and apprenticeship. To protect our lab workers, safety glasses and laboratory coats are always worn. Thus avoiding direct contact with harmful chemicals like arcylamide. To minimize potential health risks, the laboratory is always kept tidy and after each procedure containing microorganisms or genetic material potential contaminated surfaces are sterilized. The laboratory is consequently closed for public and people who are not instructed in rules of good practice for chemicals and genetics.
Do any of the new BioBrick parts (or devices) that you made this year raise any safety issues? If yes,
- did you document these issues in the Registry?
- how did you manage to handle the safety issue?
- How could other teams learn from your experience?
Non of our BioBrick parts are known to cause any safety issues. In our labs we work with E.coli, S.cerevisiaeandC.testosteron. They all are classified as non harmful and categorized in biosecurity stage S1 after the GenTSV.
Is there a local biosafety group, committee, or review board at your institution?
- If yes, what does your local biosafety group think about your project?
- If no, which specific biosafety rules or guidelines do you have to consider in your country?
The Technical University Darmstadt has it's own safety department, which is responsible for all safety issues concerning work and environment. Every laboratory at the TUD has it's own safety officer who ensure that all guidelines provided by the government are implemented. For our labs the safety officer Harald Kolmar and Heribert Warzecha are familiar with our project and gave us the allowance to work.
Do you have any other ideas 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?
In our labs not only the safety officers take care of the good practice guidelines, the whole team is involved to make sure that working is safe for everyone. Before start with the experimental work in our labs we discuss safety and good practice questions in a group to make sure that everyone is informed about what and how the work should be done. But we are all humans, that’s why we implemented a system where everybody who does not follow or forgot about the guidelines (e.g. forgotten do sterilized hands after work) is written down and has to pay a small amount of money in the so called „Box of shame“. At the end of iGEM we will spend the so collected money to make a BBQ.