A great place to learn and receive research experience
Research Associate (Former Employee) – Toronto, ON – 3 August 2012
The rating for this company is based on a contract employment position and would be very different for a full time employee overall and especially in the categories that were marked lower in this assessment. A typical day at work:
9:00: Turn on tissue culture hood, and put media in water bath. Plan out the experiments of the day and prepare the samples needed
9:30: Perform lab activities if it is more efficient to do so in the morning. This includes Bradford assays, Western Blots, mini-preps, maxi-preps and running agarose gels.
1:00: Transfer protein gels to PVDF, image agarose gels, determine DNA concentrations from mini-prep/maxi-prep
2:30: Perform tissue culture experiments including seeding or passing cells, changing media, infecting cells with virus, freezing cells, or harvesting virus
4:30: Record in the log book the activities of the day and clean up the bench. Check if anything needs to be autoclaved for the next day or if supplies need to be refilled
5:00: End of day. More often than not the day would go longer because of experiments taking longer to 6:30
It was a very good experience working here and I learned many new techniques as stated above including western blotting, tissue culture work and several molecular biology techniques such as site directed mutagenesis. I also learned about the alternative splicing of HIV-1 that is required for its proliferation as that was the focus of the lab I was in.
The management was good and they had recently made a break room space for the floor I was working on including a big screen TV, couches and a lunch room area with a fridge, microwave, toaster and dishwasher. With the occasional coffee and cookies session and monthly floor parties it was an enjoyable aspect of working at U of T.
My coworkers were very helpful during my time directing me to wherever I needed to go and showing me how to perform the various techniques required to do my experiments. Most of my coworkers were also closer to my age and so we shared a lot of common interests, but in general the people working on my floor were very courteous and helpful and contributed to the positive experience I had here.
The hardest part of the job was having to deal with experiments not working for various different reasons and trying to be patient and realizing that in research not everything is going to work right away. However it was also interesting to try and solve those problems by troubleshooting.
The most enjoyable part of the job was simply learning all the different techniques involved in the research process and seeing the results from your experiments. Whether the results were promising or if the experiment did not give the expected results it was good to try and learn from my mistakes and try new things. And it was especially enjoyable when experiments worked, and particularly if they were something difficult or something that had taken time to get a successful result
good experience, interesting experiments, learning new techniques and using new machines
low salary, no job security