Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dish washing & Spectrophometer

Another small step forward. Today Ayelet met the dish washer, Drorit, that will handle our dishes. So, now we can start piling the dirty dishes...

(Not to scare Drorit, I didn't snap her photo on the first meeting :-) )

Moreover, we have a new toy that arrived today - a spectrophotometer.

For the uninitiated the spectrophotmeter measures the clarity of liquid (optical density in more precise language), and we will use it to measure how many yeast cells are growing in our samples. It is a small device, but will see much use in the lab.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Deliveries - two new robots!

Two days in a row we got shipments of new stuff. The first was the Singer RoToR which arrived with a lot of supplied. Turn out we got 29 boxes. One, very large one, was the device, a smaller, is the vacuum pump, and 27 boxes of plates and one-time pads. The delivery guy made three rounds to bring all of that in, while I tried to find places in which to hide all of the boxes without blocking the space.

Two of the boxes showed up wet an damaged, which was sad to see.

The next morning (Thursday), David Golan (Merkel) showed up with the new HyperCyt loader. He and Ariel (from Merkel) assembled part of the device and need to return to finish the setup.

Pouring plates

So today Ayelet and Avital started media preps. Very exciting first steps toward growing our own stuff. We now have our own vintage of YPD, LB, and SC media.

In addition they prepared YPD with ager for plates. I helped pouring some of the agar plates. Yey!

Now we wait to see if these keep sterile over the next few days, or do we need to improve our sterile techniques.

So where are we now?

The lab is starting to be functional. We went through several weeks of ordering chemicals and small equipment, but now we have a lab with
  • Two molecular biology benches
  • A "scales" bench for weighing and mixing
  • A large centrifuge and two small ones
  • A larger refrigerator and freezer
More importantly
  • FACSCalibur Flow cytometer
  • IntelliCyt HyperCyt loader (still need to be set up)
  • A Singer RoToR colony replicator (still in a box)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

About Us

The lab is part of Nir Friedman's research group.  The lab has dual affiliation with the School of Engineering and the Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences, both at the Hebrew University.

Our general interest is to understand molecular machines that are involved in transcriptional regulation, and in particular to understand how specific response of different genes is achieved. We plan to use the Baker's yeast as our model organism for our research.

Time Line Prior to Start of Blog


  • ERC proposal submitted
  • Reply from the ERC. The proposal is accepted!
  • Resubmission of corrected Description of Work and budget
  • Early discussions with Shy Arkin (then Head of Life Sciences) about opening an experimental lab in the institute
  • Ayelet Rahat joins as a Research Associate
  • Initial space allocation (Wing I, 6th floor)
  • Meetings with Dean, and later HUJI President about lab renovations. Promise from president for budgetary support.

  • We formulate draft renovation "programa"
  • First rounds of meeting with robotics people (Tekan and Perkin Elmer)
  • ERC project officially starts, budget number is open
  • Fixing programa to include heat/electricity spec of different devices
  • Programa is sent to all relevant bodies
  • Initial cost estimate is given by building department
  • Recruitment of internal grant from the ARD toward renovations
  • Recruitment of the rest of cost estimate from HUJI president
  • First round of meetings with electricity, A/C, and water planners and with lab furniture manufacturer
  • Modification of plans to meet requirements raised by the planners
  • Plan approval by Safety Department
  • Planners move to detailed plans
  • Ayelet works at Weizmann using Olympus microscope at the Schuldiner group (through to August)
  • Revised cost estimate according to detailed plans is much higher than initial estimate
  • Meeting to try to reduce cost of renovation
  • Site visits to see Agilent, Tekan, and Perkin Elmer installations
  • Visit to Perkin development site in Hamburg and Olympus site in Munich
  • The option of using Operetta is raised
  • Operetta evaluation in Hamburg
  • We are allocated a temporary space to start activity
  • FACS system ordered
  • Discussion with Ran Nathan (Head of LS Institute) on renovating in new location, approval of tentative plan there
  • Generating orders for lab equipment, consumables, and reagents
  • Order for Singer RoToR
  • Negotiations on Robotics + imaging options
  • Revised programa for the new site is formulated and distributed
  • We decide to forgo Operetta and an order for Olympus ScanR goes out
  • Start of activity at the temporary location
  • FACSCalibur installed
  • New cost estimation for programa in the new site, close to actual budget
  • Request for detailed planning for systems in the new site