Getting Started In The Lab

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This page is for new members coming into the lab. (by Kelvin, May 2007; edited by Anna, April 2008 and by Amar, June 2008)

Before starting, you may need to complete the following tasks :



For everyone who needs access to the lab space

Under "Radioactive Materials" click on "Radiation Safety Orientation." Study the tutorial and pass the short exam at its end. The Radiation Safety Orientation on radioactive materials is required for card access to the 7-202 Nils Hesselmo Lab Area.

If you do not see the information that you need here, or have a specific question, contact DEHS by calling (612) 626-6002, or sending email to

Once you have done the radiation safety training, send an e-mail to Tay with the following information so that he may request card access for you:

  • your student ID
  • UCard Number
  • Yellow number on back of UCard

Then go to AHC access request and fill out the online student access form.

You can then go to the information desk at NHH on the 3rd floor and fill out the paperwork there for card access, which they need in addition to Tay's e-mail request.

You should take the Laboratory safety training before you deal with any chemicals in the lab. Even if you are not, you should take the training because you are in close proximity to the use of chemicals. This training should be updated yearly. You can do it online at DEHS safety training website

Safety training

Go to Lab Safety You need to take:

  1. Introduction to Research Safety
  2. Chemical Safety
  3. Bloodborne safety training

If you'd like to check the sessions on your training record, go to [html:// OHR]

  • Click on Employee Self Service from the left hand side
  • Click on Training Registration/History from the right hand side
  • Click on Personal Training Record from the right hand side

1) Radiation Safety Orientation: [Make sure you are opening a new Browser window before beginning a new training module.] Go to and then to Radiation Protection, then Radiation Training and select Radiation Safety Orientation. The X500 log-in screen will appear. After logging in, the training module will start. [Remember, at the completion of a training module, wait for 1 minute after following the instructions on the screen "you have successfully passed…." and then close the Browser.]

2) < Bloodborne Pathogen Training>: [Make sure you are opening a new Browser window before beginning a new training module.] The path is and then Biosafety > Biosafety Manual > Bloodborne Pathogen/Human Infectious Agents > Bloodborne Pathogen Training – Preventing Employee Exposure to Bloodborne & Other Pathogens. In this module (2 parts), the log-in is at the end.

If you are going to do experiments

In accordance with federal, state, and institutional regulations and policies, all personnel at the University must complete one of the two options listed before they are eligible to work with animals (See training requirements below). Neither IACUC approvals nor authorizations to animal areas will be granted until certification is complete.

SPF rodent colonies at the University of Minnesota utilize the Microisolator system of filtered cages to exclude organisms that can be detrimental to research, including mouse hepatitis virus, Sendai virus and Mycoplasma pulmonis. These cages can only be opened under a laminar flow hood using aseptic technique. Approximately one hour of training is required and training sessions are offer twice a week by the RAR. Click on the link above, then under "Required Training" click on "complete a registration form." Print, fill in, and either fax or deliver the training application to schedule the training module. Make sure that anyone attending the module has not been in contact with conventionally housed rodents on the day of the module, as there will be hands-on experience given. Important: During training you will be given a "Request for Access to Restricted RAR Animal Housing Areas" form. Fill in and return this form in order to receive card access to animal housing rooms and make sure that the PI includes your name in the personnel list in the IACUC Protocol.

  • Occupational health program training (ROHP)

Animal Use Training: Using your Internet ID and password, please log onto the ROHP reporting system at to view and update your requirements. The ROHP reporting system provides instructions for completing your training requirements.

Medical Requirements: Contact Boynton Health Service at (612) 625-3222 to schedule an appointment.

  • Medical Questionnaire
  • Tetanus

Training Requirements:

  • Allergen exposure
  • Intestinal diseases
  • Tetanus
  • Zoonotic disease -- general
  • General Information

Your electronic identity

  • Get lab domain username and password and update the Cygwin ssh server to include you
  • Set up Google calendar and share with Tay
  • Get Tay or any other lab administrator to add you to the NeuralNetoff Lab calendar and Tay's personal Calendar
  • Get Tay or any other lab administrator to add you to the Lab's Electronic Notebook database users
  • Get Tay or another administrator to add you to the GradTrak users and record the date that you entered the lab on GradTrak
  • Set yourself up with a RefWorks account and start developing your database of files
  • Sign up for SPIN grant announcements and/or COS
  • Sign up for Faculty of 1000 to get relevant papers sent to you by e-mail weekly
  • Add yourself to the Wiki main page and introduce yourself and keep lists of what you are reading and doing in the lab
  • Set up a blog to keep track of what you have been doing

On line tutorials

Matlab Tutorial
HTML and other language tutorials
Check out courses at The Institute for Mathematics an it's applications (IMA)
Check out tutorials and short courses at Minnesota Supercomputer Institute


Every lab member should have a notebook to keep track of information and their progress. Guidelines for maintaining a notebook can be read at: University's policy on notebooks Experimental notes will be maintained by our electronic notebook, but you should note what experiments and what was done in your personal notebook. You should especially specify why the data was being taken and the hypothesis to be tested.


  • Apply for card access to building & lab

The PI/Director should fill out the online form for Access Approval and Key Approval at Under U-card access, choose "Access Approval Form" for access approval. Under Keys, choose "Key Approval Form" for key approval. The forms must be filled in completely including:

a) Name of the personnel(Legal ONLY), student ID

b) Building and Room Number. Our building is Nils Hesselmo Hall, and the current lab room number in the building is 7-202.

c) The hours that the person will need access to the building (such as : 24 hr/day 7 days/week vs. 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Monday through Friday).

d) If applicable, in the email, include information of the personnel on any previous access so that the record of training can be retrieved.

After approval, the personnel should be able to use his/her ID card to enter the building and lab. Problems with access being removed or with access being delayed are most often due to the following reasons:

1) PI's/approvers MUST send an access form whenever a person joins their lab/unit/facility EVEN IF HIS/HER CARD IS CURRENTLY "WORKING". If the previous PI/approver emails us or indicates in an audit that the individual has left, we will deactivate U-card access not knowing that the person has joined another group.

2) Training has not been done in a timely manner. We check for training two consecutive days after the person has done the requirements at the info desk. If unable to verify training in PeopleSoft, we will cease checking until informed by the approver or person that the training has been done.

3) The requirements at the info desk have not been completed. ALL persons needing U-card access to ANY PART of our buildings must go to an info desk to complete our info form and to have their U-card copied.

For information on requirements for access, go to our website (, click on "U-card access" on our home page. The building and/or floors are listed. We recommend that PI's/approvers print the pertinent section and hand it to new people in the lab.

  • Apply for a locker in the lab area

If you want to apply a locker for storing personal belongings, you may apply for a locker in the lab area.

You need to go to the Frontdesk on Level 3 in Nils Hesselmo Building. Tell the service people there you need a locker in Room 7-202 and fill in a form.

For technical questions regarding the ROHP reporting system, please call (612) 624-1600. For program questions, please call (612) 626-3599. You can learn more about ROHP at .

You can call RAR at 612-624-9100 and/or complete a registration form to schedule one of the training sessions.

Before access to RAR facilities will be granted, new members must have their names added to the Lab Animal Protocol.

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