Last month, a group of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers from the University of Chicago Department of Chemistry and Institute for Molecular Engineering visited The Dow Chemical Company in Midland, MI to attend the Dow Lab Safety Academy. This two-day event focused on immersing attendees in an integrated culture of safety at the industry level by highlighting best practices and sharing ideas towards improving laboratory safety standards in academia.
“Conversations about safety lead to innovation,” said Keith Watson, Vice President of Core R&D. His opening remarks resonated throughout the subsequent topics and discussions presented by Dow speakers, ranging from effective safety communication to cultivating safety as a pivotal part of researchers’ mindset when designing, conducting, and terminating experiments.
Kimberly Mormann, Laboratory Safety Specialist in the Office of Research Safety, led the collaboration to attend the Dow Lab Safety Academy, alongside groups from the University of Minnesota and Northwestern University. Both universities are in the process of developing a student-led team to improve the safety culture in academia. The following University of Chicago representatives attended, alphabetically:
From the Institute for Molecular Engineering, James Lettow (Rowan Lab graduate student), Prof. Shrayesh Patel, Laura Pulido (Huang Lab, research specialist), Jeff Ting (Tirrell Lab postdoctoral researcher), and Quong Wu (Rowan Lab postdoctoral researcher).
From the Department of Chemistry, Britt Fossum (Lin Lab graduate student), Jonathan Keim (Snyder Lab, graduate student), Ryan Menssen (Tokmakoff Lab, graduate student), and Ben Slaw (Lee Lab graduate student).