Waiting for the cells

May 5th, 2009

Sitting with a pipette here within my lab
Waiting for the cells to grow.
In perfect isolation here upon the plate
Waiting for the cells to grow.

However much work you put in, and however hard you plan your experiments, there will always be the occasion when every experiment you have running hits down-time at the same point. Whether this is waiting for cells to divide and grow until they reach usable levels, or for a supplier to send a much needed antibody, there will be occasions when you end up unable to do the experiments which you have prioritised.

When downtime occurs it is a good time to catch up with reading, polishing notes and sorting out benches. It is also a good time to make sure everything is in order, and to check that you have everything ready for the work to come. There is nothing more frustrating than reaching the middle of an experiment and suddenly realising that the key reagent you needed has been contaminated. However, what is surprising is that it is usually possible to fill this time, and it is rarely time wasted; sometimes these little tasks take far longer than reason would predict.

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