Whether you are going out of town or staying home for the holidays, researchers plan for the special challenges that happen during this time of year. With delicate equipment, cultured cells, and possibly animals, leaving the laboratory can put these valuable resources at risk. Here are some preparation tips that could save your research and help you enjoy your time off.
If you are traveling:
- Identify members of your laboratory who will be in town/in work over the holidays. Ask them to take care of cell cultures, check on equipment and be a local emergency contact. It is a nice idea to bring them a small holiday gift or souvenir as a thank you and offer to return the favor on their next trip.
- Prepare your cell cultures and animals. Freeze down cultured cells prior to your departure. If someone is available to take care of your cells, maintain only what you will need for when you return. Make sure your back-up person knows how to change a CO2 tank and has a plan for common issues such as culture contamination. For your animals, check in with the animal facility to confirm holiday animal care schedules. If your animals require special food make sure you have back-up quantities available.
- Maintain equipment. Shut down all equipment that will not be used while you are away, and plan time for their set-up and calibration when you return. This is also a good time to perform cleaning and maintenance. Make sure all equipment is labeled with the name of a local contact for any issues that come up while you’re gone. For freezers and other equipment that will be left on, it is a good idea to place instructions in a sheet protector taped to the instrument or kept nearby. These include how to turn off the alarm and where to place materials if the freezer is not cooling.
- Download literature to read during your travel. The holidays can be a great time to catch up on your reading, but you may not always have access to the internet.
If you are staying behind:
- The idea of an empty lab with all the equipment to yourself may sound very appealing, but it is often lonely. If you are on your own, organize a potluck or party with others that are sticking around. It is a great way to make friends and learn about other cultures.
- Start a food drive or fundraiser. This is great way to get to know more lab members while directing your focus away from those you miss and towards a cause.
- Order supplies early and check delivery schedules. Sometimes your institution will close the receiving dock over the holidays.
- Technical support centers will be closed on major holidays. However, many only close a few days a year. If you would like to have a conversation with a technical support representative their call volume is often lower during the holidays.
The holidays seem to sneak up each year; going into this time prepared and with a plan can alleviate stress and ensure your research can resume uninterrupted upon return. Thermo Fisher Scientific can support you in several ways during this time through free Aspire member program benefits.* Enroll today and select a free trial product from nearly 20,000 items including Recovery™ Cell Culture Freezing Medium, benefit from career accelerators and earn points for discounts and merchandise.
*Enrollment invitation is open to eligible participants in the US (excluding Puerto Rico) and Canada (excluding Quebec). All restrictions and terms and conditions of the Aspire™ member program apply. Eligible participants must complete the enrollment process for the Aspire™ member program in order to be enrolled in the program and receive rewards and benefits. Enrollees must confirm their health care professional or government employment status during time of enrollment. For full terms and conditions of the program, go to thermofisher.com/aspire/tc Offer is void where prohibited, licensed, or restricted by federal, state, provincial, or local laws or regulation or agency/institutional policy. Other restrictions may apply. Additional terms and conditions apply.