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Home Project Design Protocols Notebook Results Parts Submitted to the Registry Modeling Software Used Human Practices Safety Team Official Team Profile


Members of our lab team were required to take biological and chemical safety training courses offered through the Department of Occupational Health and Safety at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Each safety seminar was divided into 2 parts, each part being 2 hours in length followed by a short exam. In addition, due to our proximity to patients and hospital staff each member of the team was required to present proof of immunizations and a recent TB test as well as attending a hospital orientation and sensitivity training. We were closely supervised by our instructors during further lab-specific training for the first 4-6 weeks of our summer work period. This year as we were working with a variety of hazardous chemicals which were new to us we actively maintained a binder of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) as required by WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Material Information System) and took extra precautions when working with certain chemicals. For example, we used neoprene gloves to work with Catechol and we formulated 'safe' dilutions of our stock solution for use in characterization of our system.

  1.  Would any of your project ideas raise safety issues in terms of:
         * researcher safety,
         * public safety, or
         * environmental safety?
     Answer:  None beyond the usual safety requirements as provided for in a level-2 laboratory (Canadian standard).
  2. 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?
     Answer:  No. Our parts are already native to bacteria. Our manipulations lay the groundwork for new technologies   
     that influence the efficiency of bioremediation. This is generally seen as a positive.

  3. 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?
     Answer:  Yes - The Research Training Centre at The Hospital for Sick Children. The Research Institute has   
     approached us to profile our work in media promotions. We take this as a sign that they approve.
  4. 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?
     Answer:  The current focus on characterizing systems means that numerous hazards will be encountered downstream of 
     synthesizing the parts.  These dangers will depend largely on the types of experiments planned to characterize the 
     particular system in question.  They will be unique to each team.  We recommend that such experiments be 
     considered as early as possible in the planning process to identify potential hazards and training opportunities.  
     In our experience, writing a project proposal is an excellent tool for promoting this.