“A Day in the Life of…” (Part Four)

Welcome to our new monthly series, “A Day in the Life of…”!  Have you ever wondered what a typical day is like for a veterinary technician in research?  Well, now you can find out firsthand from techs working in different parts of the field. Here are links to parts onetwo, and three.  This month’s edition is from Stacey B., BA, CVT, who works as a Lab Manager:

“The labs that I work in specialize in developmental therapeutics in oncology that can translate to human clinical trials. I work for 4 different Private Investigators (PI) that range from PhDs to medical doctors, so it is very busy. Although I wear many hats, my main priority is making sure everything we do (and the many, many people I train) is the best for my animal’s health and care to achieve successful research. I am also a reviewer and committee member on our IACUC. Working in translational research has lots of variety, passionate people wanting to help cure and treat human and animal cancers, many ways to move up, new things to learn all the time, and more flexible schedules.

Athymic Nude with tumor implanted on flank.

Although each day can be very different anywhere from isolating RNA in the lab, ordering lab and animal supplies, and conducting multitudes a mouse experiments (just a few examples), I will focus on what I did today. As most labs are, my lab is flexible with work schedules, so some lab members are working 9am-5pm, 10am- 6pm, and I am working 7am-3pm today. I have an animal treatment study right now that requires a twice a day dosing schedule, so I quickly check emails, gather any supplies needed and head down to the vivarium first thing.

In the vivarium, I first check my entire room of mice (6 racks about 1500 mice in various stages of our research: no tumor, bank of tumors, waiting to start treatment study, actively on study) to make sure all cages look normal and happy. Next, I prepare all of the 9 drugs that need to be given to the mice for today and the computer, calipers, and scale for weighing and measure tumors (patient derived tumor). I have about 200 mice right now on various treatment studies so weighing, measuring, dosing, and checking health (and doing treatments or euthanizing if needed) takes until lunchtime.

Image courtesy of understandinganimalresearch.org

Most times I take a lunch away from the lab, but today is a busy day so as I eat lunch I answer emails from collaborators, PIs, and supply companies about animal procedures, drug specifications for animal studies, and supplies needed for the lab. After lunch, I discuss with my main PI specifics of what all needs to be done today (and beer as that is a common topic in our lab). The main topic is about moving our entire lab down the hall and this is very time-consuming. The next 2 hours are spent moving lab supplies, computers, deciding what old equipment can be recycled, what can be thrown away, directing where things go in the new lab, and finally setting up my computer at my new desk.

Lastly, I check and answer emails, tell all co-workers to have a good weekend, quickly go to the vivarium to administer the pm dose to the mice on the study with the twice a day drug, tell my room of mice to have a good weekend, and whew head home to start the weekend after a busy and productive day!

Header image by Rama – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.0 fr, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4320433

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