Lab Manager | Run Your Lab Like a Business

Cover Story |  Volume 6 - Issue 8  |  October 2011

Top 10 Management Skills You Need

What lab managers must know to get ahead in their careers


Editor's Buzz

Skills to Master

In our Fifth Annual Salary & Employee Satisfaction Survey, the majority of you told us again that you were happy in your current work situations and had no plans to change careers. However, 13 percent fewer of you than in 2010 answered in the affirmative to the statement, “based on job is secure.”

Leadership and Staffing

Top 10 Management Skills You Need

Top 10 Management Skills You Need

To progress in their careers, lab managers need to develop new skills.

Visualizing A Career Path

Lab managers are responsible for recruitment and development of chemists and other lab professionals. They often have to explain to the rest of the world the value added by the chemists and also educate the new recruits on what the various jobs entail. For lab employees, better understanding of jobs and available career paths can contribute to higher levels of job satisfaction.

The Psychobarbarian Manager

The Psychobarbarian Manager

There are managers who have learned to use psychological techniques to confuse, contort, and control members of their staff. You may never encounter one of these characters, if you are lucky. However, if you do run into such an unpleasant character, here are some tips on how to survive.

Science Matters: The Sciences Require 'Soft Skills' Too

We all know that scientists who pursue advanced degrees like a Ph.D. are smart. They are driven. And they are no doubt passionate about their work. But can they cut it in the real world? Recent national media reports that debate the value of advanced degrees are shining a light on the need to have marketable skills that will work beyond the “ivory tower.”

Stay Interviews

For decades, labs have struggled to find clear solutions to better engage and retain their best employees. At some point, doesn’t it make sense to say, “Why don’t we just ask them?”


The Fifth Annual Salary & Employee Satisfaction Survey

Results indicate general satisfaction though lingering job insecurity remains for some.

Are You in the Market for an Ion Chromatography System?

Are You in the Market for an Ion Chromatography System?

Ion chromatography (IC) is an instrumental technique used extensively in the environmental, pharmaceutical, life sciences, biotechnology, chemical, petrochemical, food and beverage, power generation, and electronics industries.

2011 Microplate Reader Product Survey

Microplate readers are widely used in research, drug discovery, bioassay validation, QC, and manufacturing processes for the detection of biological, chemical, or physical processes in samples contained in microtiter plates.

2011 pH Meters Product Survey Results

The pH meter is an essential piece of equipment in most laboratories, vital for many analytical and synthetic processes. Typical pH meters consist of a glass electrode connected to an electronic meter.

Are You in the Market for qPCR?

Are You in the Market for qPCR?

Within a decade of its discovery in 1983, Real-Time PCR—also called quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR)— evolved into one of the most powerful and sensitive gene analysis techniques available.

Ask the Expert

Ask the Expert: Overcoming the Challenges of Sample Preparation

Byron Brehm-Stecher, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University, heads the Rapid Microbial Detection & Control Laboratory that works to ensure the safety of the food supply through improved detection and inactivation of food-borne pathogens. While the laboratory uses a combination of several different analytical tools for rapid detection, a key emphasis lies on pre-analytical sample preparation (sample prep), which is the separation and concentration of target cells from complex samples and removal of interfering matrix components prior to detection. He talks about the common challenges associated with sample prep and what an ideal sample prep process should involve.

Laboratory Technology

Making ChIP-Sequencing User-Friendly

Chromatin states can influence transcription directly by altering the packaging of DNA to allow or prevent access to DNA-binding proteins, or they can modify the nucleosome surface to enhance or impede recruitment of effector protein complexes.

Moving Molecular Diagnostics from Bench to Clinic

The function of molecular diagnostics is to analyze the composition of a patient’s genetic makeup in order to reveal any potential predispositions of that individual to specific diseases. Identifying these biomarkers can allow treatment options to be outlined that are likely to be effective in particular patients and not in others.

October 2011 Technology News

The latest equipment, instruments and system introductions to the laboratory market.

Lab Design and Furnishings

Sustainability Meets Flexibility

What does “high-quality” mean in terms of laboratory design? Good lab design clearly satisfies not only individual expectations but even the psychological and emotional makeup of the user group.

Don’t Forget the Green

It’s really not optional anymore. Sustainable design must be a part of the holistic approach to building a lab.

Product Focus

Product Focus: Microplate Readers

Although a mature product category, microplate readers are evolving towards greater functionality, flexibility, and throughput. All top instrument makers are focusing at least some efforts on multiplexing.

Product Focus: Lab Washers

The question of limited access or general access to laboratory goods and services applies to a range of instruments, utilities, and competencies. These questions take on added significance for midsized or larger labs.

It's Not All About Size

Whether your business is pharmaceuticals, mining, paints, or foods, you are probably working with smaller particles than you were a decade ago.

Product Focus: Pipettes

Best practices dictate that pipettes undergo preventive maintenance and calibration at least once per year. Calibration involves dispensing set volumes of a liquid, usually water, into the weighing pan of a calibrated balance.

Product Focus: Raman Analyzers

Raman spectroscopy has undergone a revolution during the last seven to 10 years, largely as a result of massive investment in the telecommunications industry.

Lab Product

10 Tips to Improve Your Pipetting Technique

10 Tips to Improve Your Pipetting Technique

Of all the factors contributing to the performance of a pipette, the most critical are the skill and expertise of the operator.

Evolution of Water Baths and Chillers

There are a number of standard laboratory procedures and processes that need to be conducted at specific and stable temperatures.

The Right Choice For Analytical Balances

Analytical balances are used to measure mass with a high degree of precision.

Lab Health and Safety

Cut to the Bone

Cut to the Bone

A Dozen Tips for Working Safely with Laboratory Glassware

Lab Health and Safety Tips

Maintain a Centrally Located Departmental Safety Library

Maintain a Centrally Located Departmental Safety Library

One of the characteristics of an effective safety program is the availability of reference and resource materials.

Research-Specific Labs

Perspective On: An Environmental Research Lab

Michael Glavanovich receives calls with all kinds of strange requests. Once, a woman phoned to ask him if a piece of meat tossed into her yard for her dog contained poison.

Business Management

One Step Ahead

When starting a business, an up-front investment is necessary to hire the talented personnel, acquire the appropriate equipment and instrumentation, and secure the space required to operate the new business successfully.

Easing Regulatory Compliance

How Informatics Standardization can Help Labs Achieve Quality and Ease Compliance Burdens.

White Papers and Application Notes

Comparing Microvolume and Cuvette Based Measurements of Microbial Cell Cultures

Microvolume assessment of bacterial culture growth was found to facilitate measurement of undiluted cultures. Comparison between microvolume and cuvette-based data requires the use of a conversion factor, which can be simply determined.

How it Works

How it Works: Robotic Personal Workstations

With the rapid pace and high demands of research that dominate today’s research laboratories, scientists require faster, more dependable, and safer means of accomplishing detail-oriented and potentially tedious liquid handling tasks, while producing reliable results that do not waste expensive reagents.

How Micro-Volume Quantification Works

Highly concentrated nucleic acid and protein samples must be diluted before they can be read on most absorbance-based spectrophotometers, and conversely, diluted samples must be concentrated to within the spectrophotometer’s dynamic range before reading.

How An Energy Efficient Laboratory Oven Works

The global energy crisis is growing and is driving the costs of energy higher, making energy consciousness not only a necessity in terms of the environment, but also important for cost savings.