INSIDE SEPTEMBER |OCTOBER FROM THE EDITORS OF R&D MAGAZINE
3 WHAT’S NEW ON
21 NEW PROJECTS
1 Case Study: Shriram Center for Bioengineering & Chemical
Engineering, Stanford University
1 Fostering collaboration through innovative lab design
10 Learning from tech workplaces
12 Digital tools for creating cutting-edge labs
16 Equity and laboratory design
18 How switching to LED lighting improves lab efficiency
20 Standardizing pharmaceutical builds
This summer, several astonishingly
powerful hurricanes have wreaked
havoc on parts of the southern
United States, the Caribbean and
Mexico. The devastation has been
unimaginable … businesses and
streets have flooded, homes have
been destroyed, lives have been lost. Even after the
rain stops, concerns about contaminated floodwater
and mold infestation is still a major health concern.
The Houston area and Florida are still struggling
to clean up and rebuild, and Puerto Rico faces a
particularly long and difficult recovery. What makes
things even worse is that these storms came one
right on top of the other—in some cases battering
areas that had already sustained heavy damage.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s regional
lab in Houston, which has served as an EPA staging
area following Hurricane Harvey, has been called
upon to do water testing during the recovery.
However, due to federal budget cuts, this office is
slated to close. Water and soil samples may need to
be sent elsewhere—the closest EPA regional lab is
400 miles away in Oklahoma.
The laboratory community was also affected
by these hurricanes. The damaged areas are
home to many prominent research universities
and independent labs, some of which have been
damaged beyond repair. Even if their residents
can get these facilities up and running again, the
rebuilding process may have to take a backseat as
many of the folks who work there have completely
lost their homes or are facing major restoration work.
However, even in these difficult times the best of
humanity has shone through. Vacation cruise ships
evacuated people from the Caribbean. Hospital
patients and NICU babies were taken to more secure
areas prior to the storms. A skeleton crew stayed
put at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston to
provide support for the International Space Station.
Sharks in a Florida aquarium were evacuated to safer
accommodations in Atlanta, and a volunteer group
headed to Fort Lauderdale right after Hurricane Irma
in order to assist the local sea turtle population. First
responders from faraway states rushed to Texas,
Florida and Puerto Rico to help out. Monetary aid
and donated supplies have poured in from across
the globe to assist those in need.
After Hurricane Harvey struck Texas, the Twitter
hashtag #scishelptx quickly sprung up, posted
by lab professionals offering to take in displaced
scientists. Several people extended an invitation
to house researchers and their families who had
been displaced by flooding. Others posted that they
could loan out, or replace, equipment that had been
lost. One lab said that they could host fly strains
for any researchers who needed help, and another
posted that they could accommodate plant and soil
samples. A Google spreadsheet posted to Twitter by
the Houston March for Science group contains the
names of nearly 300 laboratory facilities who are
willing to help their colleagues in need.
The rebuilding process will be long and difficult.
Hopefully, the kindness shown by colleagues, friends
and strangers will ease the burden a bit. Our hearts
go out to everyone affected by these tragedies.
By MaryBeth DiDonna, Editor
Weathering the storms