Biologists and biomedical scientists are highly educated individuals. They work together doctors and healthcare professionals in medical or research laboratories, and must be proficient in a variety of scientific techniques and methods.
Sample preparation and analysis may seem simple to the outsider, but any scientist knows how difficult it can be. Proper handling of monsters requires a steady hand and an eye for detail.
Even with the vast array of machines invented to help scientists perform their day-to-day tasks, lab workers still need to be qualified and talented to properly organize, prepare, and analyze samples.
Any lab job involves advanced skills, whether it’s using a high-tech device or pipetting small and precise amounts of a sample into a petri dish. Some techniques are less common than others, but there are several tasks that lab personnel will perform each day.
Here are three of the most common biological techniques and methods to know if you want to work in a medical or research lab.
- Incubation and freezing samples
Biological samples must be kept at certain temperatures. Depending on the type of sample you are working with, you may need to use the incubator or freezer to keep the sample at the optimum temperature.
When dealing with live cell cultures or microorganisms, you need to know how to store them properly and what type of equipment to use. Organisms are temperature sensitive and your job is to make sure they are happy.
Using an incubator can stimulate cell growth, allowing the organisms in your sample to thrive, giving you more to work with in your analysis. The habits LN2 freezer will stop the growth of your sample and it will also prevent the growth of unwanted microbes thus preventing contamination.
Most biological research and sample analysis involves pipetting. Whether preparing chemical solutions to mix with your samples or transfer a cell culture from one agar plate to another, you need strong pipetting skills to work in a biology lab.
Pipetting the wrong amount of solution or cell culture can disrupt your analysis and lead to errors in your resulting data. Pipetting is an easy technique to pick up and you will find that the more you practice, the better and more accurate your pipetting will become.
When you need to break down cells into their constituent organelles and proteins, you must use centrifugation† A centrifuge is a device that spins your samples at high speeds to separate the components into individual parts based on density.
It is important to set the centrifuge to the correct speed so that it does not destroy the sample but also separates the components properly. There are a few different types of centrifuge machines, so you’ll need to learn how to properly use each of them if your lab uses each type.
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