Entrance Protocol

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Beginning in a new lab can be an overwhelming experience.  This guide is intended to aid new members in starting up as quickly as possible.

Accounts & Certification

  1. Incoming personnel must be registered with UWO as either staff or students.  Ensure that you are registered, and have received a UWO ID card.
  2. Keys are only available for technicians, graduate students and postdocs.  Please see Dr. Heit about receiving keys.
  3. You will have (at least) two computer accounts at UWO:
    • Your UWO/Schulich IT account.  This gives you access to UWO e-mail and other network services.  This account should have been setup for you as part of your registration process.  If not, contact UWO ITS.
    • Your in-lab account.  This will give you access to the servers and workstations within the Heit lab.  See Dr. Heit for setting up this account
  4. All staff using any laboratory on campus must complete the required safety courses.  The exact courses which an individual must complete will depend partially on their project.  Detailed requirements can be found at UWO health and Safety.  At a minimum, all Heit lab members will need:
    • WHIMIS
    • Biosafety
    • Chemical Safety
    • Most will need laser safety as well
  5. International students/postdocs coming from non-English speaking nations may want to consider taking an English as a Second Language course.  The Student Development Centre has information on these programs.
  6. All members of the lab must keep a laboratory notebook.  Please read and follow the lab notebook guidelines.

Laboratory Policies


Our laboratory follows several ethical guidelines.  Laboratory members should be familiar with, and follow, these guidelines:

Attendance & Vacation


  • No formal system of timecards is currently implemented. 
  • It is expected that graduate students and post-doctoral fellows work full-time (40 hours/week).  To be successful, most graduate and post-graduate projects may require a greater time investment than this.
    • No specific work-hours are assigned, so long as sufficient hours are being worked. However, students and post-docs must ensure that they are attending all mandatory meetings, journal clubs, seminars and training sessions.
    • If necessary, mandated work-hours will be assigned on a case-by-case basis.
  • Employees (technicians, research associates) and term employees (work-study, paid summer students) are expected to work the hours assigned in their contract, and to work during regular business hours (unless other arrangements have been made)
    • Undergraduates must work during regular business hours, or at the time outlined by their supervisor, as they do not have access to the lab when others are not present.
    • Undergraduate students in honours programs are expected to attend the lab for at least 6 hours per week during the fall and winter semester


  • Dr. Heit must be made aware of planned vacations at least one week in advance
  • For most employees, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, vacation time is set in the employment contract
  • Additional time may be awarded based on merit or need
  • Unless previous arrangements have been made, undergraduates are not awarded vacation aside from statutory holidays, reading week, and the inter-semester break
Laboratory Jobs

A variety of lab equipment needs frequent maintenance and consumables need restocking to ensure proper functioning of the lab.  All laboratory members are required to aid in this process.  Lab jobs will be assigned on an ad-hoc basis.  These jobs include, but are not limited to:

  • Refilling & autoclaving tip boxes
  • Refilling tissue culture supplies
  • Preparation of heat-inactivated FBS
  • Cleaning of vacuum traps
  • Dishes
  • Autoclave bags
  • Chemical disposal
  • Cleaning/organisation of lab benches and bays
Lab Meetings

Lab meetings are critical to the proper and successful operation of any lab.  These allow for issues to be addressed, progress to be monitored, and offer a formalised opportunity for others to provide input to help advance your project.  With the exception of undergraduate students, all lab members are required to attend:

  • A weekly one-on-one meeting with Dr. Heit.  To this meeting bring:
    • Your lab notebook
    • Results from the past week
    • Any issues or difficulties you wish to discuss
  • Lab meetings as they are scheduled
    • One or two individuals will present their project at each lab meeting
    • Time will be allocated at the beginning of the meeting to discuss expenses, conferences, lab issues, etc.
Common Area (office space)

Office space is available in the office attached to the lab.  Whenever possible, individuals will have an assigned space in this office.  Because this space is shared it is important that the following guidelines be followed:

  • Please keep it quiet if people are working in the office
  • Remove all food scraps
  • Empty the trash & recycling when full
  • Keep the door closed when unoccupied
  • Never take any laboratory supplies, chemicals or biohazards into the office
  • Personal protective equipment like lab coats must never be worn in the office
  • The server rack must never be moved, altered or disconnected.  DO NOT STORE ITEMS ON THE RACK

Graduate and undergraduate students may have department or university mandated evaluations as part of their training program.  Aside from these formalized evaluations, the following evaluations should be expected:

Undergraduate students (honours, volunteers and work-study):

  • A weekly or monthly meeting where you progress is reviewed.  Note: this meeting may be held jointy with your supervising graduate student/post-doc.
  • If class schedules permit, attendance at lab meetings is required

Graduate Students, Post-Doctoral Fellows and Staff:

  • Weekly one-on-one meeting with Dr. Heit to review progress
  • Attendance at all lab meetings is required
  • Annual formal review (this can be held more often, if required)