Team:UCL London/Safety




Health & Safety in iGEM


In iGEM, our main priority is the safety and wellbeing of us as a team and of those working around us, without a doubt being the most important aspect to our project. We ensured that our first step was the organising of a Lab Safety session with our ACBE Lab technicians to ensure we are aware of all the dangers around us, especially those linked to our project.

1.Would any of your project ideas raise safety issues in terms of:


In terms of research and wet lab, Xiang compiled a vital Do and Do Not list 10 Steps to a safer lab session. The majority of chemicals that were used did not pose a significant risk to us, the only real one was the use of ethidium bromide whilst carrying out gel electrophoresis, and one must be aware that it is a cancer inducing chemical. This meant special gloves had to be worn for extra protection.

Other well known safety measures were the wearing of goggles and lab coats at all times when in the laboratory and fermentation hall. One vital point was never to leave a person alone in the lab, and to always have atleast two people in the lab at all times.


Having done the research, it has become quite evident that our product poses no extra risk compared to any other ordinary biopharmaceutical process to the public. If anything, not using IPTG and using such a genetic circuit will result in a much more efficient process in the expression of the protein. But nevertheless, any risk brought about by say the production of dangerous side products can be removed in the downstream processing of the material and so no extra threat is raised.


In terms of the environment, no evident risk has been observed, ultimately our project if anything is beneficial to the environment by reducing the use and need of IPTG in such processes.

2. Do any of the new BioBrick parts (or devices) that you made this year raise any safety issues?

Our new Biobrick contains parts that are well established and documented in the biopharmaceutical industry, and so there is very little risk to the consumer. But more importantly, any risk say in terms of the production of maybe side effects or the reminants of such biobricks which may have adverse effects will be dealt with in the downstream processing where they will removed using multiple filtration utilities.

3. Is there a local biosafety group, committee, or review board at your institution?

Infortunately, UCL itself does not have a biosafety although ahving said, we are at the heart of London and several organisations are located nearby responsible for the implementation of safe codes of practice with biosafety such as ....

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