The day-to-day life of a laboratory technician
At the BiSC Project we often tell you about laboratory technicians, but we haven’t told you how they work and what their role is in BiSC. Well, today we’re sharing a handful of their wide range of tasks.
One of the tasks that our laboratory technicians perform is the preparation, every month, of the kits that are delivered to the mothers for the collection of samples. Once collected, the samples enter the laboratory to be transferred into more suitable containers for handling and conservation. As you already know, when the samples are collected, the parents fill out a form with data related to the collection; for example, the date and time, aspects related to diet, etc. It is a task of the technician to digitize this information.
In parallel, due to the large number and type of samples that we are collecting throughout the study, it is important that there is a good organization to be able to locate them easily, so our laboratory technicians are also in charge of “mapping” all the samples, constantly updating any movement. To locate the samples, they not only have to take into account which freezer they are in, but also the exact position inside the box that contains them and the location of the box inside the freezer! Laboratories from all over the world are interested in using the samples for research studies and the laboratory technicians are in charge of making the shipments, preparing all the necessary documentation and ensuring adequate conditions for transport. Although samples are normally stored in order of collection, when they are used for a study, a process called “randomization” is necessary. This mechanism is designed to avoid bias and that the samples that are analyzed are completely random, thus guaranteeing a better quality in the results. The laboratory technician is in charge of creating the list and allocating the samples in their new random order that will be sent to the external laboratory (but without losing sight of the correlation with the original order!).
Apart from shipments and collaborations with other universities, we also have projects to perform the analysis on site. We have already shared some of them in other entries on the web, such as the ALTER project that studies the intestinal microbiota in feces, or the one that uses placenta samples to study whether environmental factors can cause alterations that affect the health of the baby or child. . You can read all this in previous posts. In these studies, the laboratory technician provides support in sample handling or processing to support the responsible investigator. Also, all these processes require a lot of material; the technician is responsible for keeping an inventory and managing new orders when there is a need to buy more.
You can already see that the work of a BiSC technician is very important and varied. We hope you found it interesting to know more about the day-to-day life of a part of the team!
(On the left, the technician Laura Ciaran taking frozen samples for preparation in the laboratory and in the other image our freezer room)
This post has been written by Laura Ciaran, laboratory technician at the BiSC Project and Celia Chulilla, student on her practicum.