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We're Thinking Open Concept

Starting up a lab can be a daunting prospect, but the folks over at Bitesize Bio have broken the process of designing a new lab up into a few key steps.

The first is to consider how it'll be used, whether it's a teaching, basic research, or analytical lab as that'll influence what needs to be included in the design. For instance, Bitesize Bio's Zack Hades notes that an analytical lab often needs a way to control humidity and air-conditioning. Before ordering all the equipment you need, she advises that you look at what your core lab and institute have on offer, so as not to duplicate what's already around if you don't need to.

Another important aspect of setting up a lab, she says, is its layout. Hades suggests thinking about the lab setup in terms of zones that relate to use, traffic level, and any risks. For instance, she says that a piece of equipment that'll be used a lot probably shouldn't be in a high traffic or hazardous zone. She emphasizes safety that the lab should have multiple exits and be stocked with fire extinguishers and other safety equipment.

At the same time, Hades says not to forget about all that paperwork involved in getting a lab up and running, especially if you're performing animal studies or using infectious agents.