General safety information

Working safe in biology is a matter of top importance! Nowadays safety issues are even more essential, because the COVID-19 pandemics. Wearing face masks is mandatory in our institution, and many employees are already vaccinated, as well, as most of our team members. In lab we only work in lab coats, gloves and spare pair of shoes. More general information could be found in our safety form. We wish everyone to work safe and be well!

Specific safety issues

Despite general safety moments, like "do not drink phenolic solutions" our team has faced two specific decisions, we would like to tell you about. Maybe our experience will be helpful for other teams. Behold:

No mice needed

Executing animals for the sake of science might be necessary, however sometimes an alternative model can be found. This is exactly what we have managed to do! Originally, we had had plans on mice testing: we wanted to show the successful nose-to-brain delivery using mice model. Unfortunately, it would have required killing the mice for quite elusive success perspective.

During our meetup with CityU team from Hong Kong they suggested us to find an in vitro model for the nasal mucosal barrier, because they had known about such complex models of the blood-brain barrier. And such model was found, allowing us to reject the mice usage. An article: "Improved In Vitro Model for Intranasal Mucosal Drug Delivery: Primary Olfactory and Respiratory Epithelial Cells Compared with the Permanent Nasal Cell Line RPMI 2650" by Simone Ladel and coauthors describes a suitable model for nasal epithelium designed specifically for the drug delivery. Taking the article as basis we have continued the development of idea, to make sure it will suit our experiment. All necessary resources and information are still to be collected, yet we can already say for sure that no mice are needed at this stage of our project development!

Kill switch decision

Originally we had not been bothered by a kill switch system, because we had been thinking: "Why should we do it now if our project is highly fundamental and we can design such system when there would be a need for it?" But our Human practices survey showed us that the thing people are most concerned about was kill switch. Many respondents commented, that the ability to safety clear the bacteria out of nose was of top priority for them, thus we have switched the priorities for us, re-considering the kill switch design an urgent task.

You may learn more about engineering side of our safety concerns at the engineering page of our wiki