QGEM takes safety seriously. Not just because we have too, but because we want our team to always return to work
healthy the next day. Although human life is our biggest safety consideration we also care about environmental
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic our lab access this year was restricted. In conversation with our faculty advisors and Queen’s University Research Services it was ultimately decided that working in a shared lab posed to much risk not just to our team but our community, if spread where to occur. Since lab access did not occur all summer, our team did not undergo wet lab health and safety training – of course if lab access had actually occurred, we would have undergone this.
Working at home can be isolating or frustrating as time goes on. We’ve always encouraged both paid student employees and volunteers on our team to set a schedule that works for them and take breaks as needed. Our weekly meetings have given our team a chance to see each other’s faces at an uncertain time and reflect on making our working lives more comfortable.
Hypothetically, the E.coli K12 strains used do not colonize in the human gut, have very limited survival in the environment, and have no known negative effects on microorganisms or plants. For these reasons we think it is a good model organism to work with, had we gone in the lab. Much of this information was obtained after reviewing the Canada Pathogen Data Sheet.
It’s important to note, should the biosensor be made, we’ve taken steps to ensure in our hardware design that proteins are separated and never come into contact with a patients skin or enter their body for safety reasons such as accidental entry of parathyroid hormone into the body.