Designing Your Dream Biotech Laboratory

Nearly any space can be converted into a biotechnology lab training facility. Make sure that there are adequate work surfaces (tables or counter tops), electrical service, and computers. Sink and other water sources and gas lines should be together. You’ll also need room to store glassware, plastics, chemicals, and equipment.

Consider the following details when setting up and managing your biotech lab:

  • Layout, workflow, and storage
  • Lab stations
  • Common work areas
  • Chemicals and chemical storage
  • Refrigerator and freezer storage
  • Student sample storage
  • Waste disposal
  • Safety issues
  • Inventory and ordering
  • Time management

Other facility, workflow, and storage considerations include:

  • Student movement, bottlenecks, and time limitations
  • Individual lab stations vs. common work areas
  • Multiple identical work areas
  • Strategically placed tables, carts, deionized water, and sinks
  • Gas/Bunsen burner placement
  • Immediate, short-, and long-term storage needs

Students can work in pairs, with two pairs per lab station. For each pair of students, provide:

  • Stirring hotplate
  • Ring stand, rod, and clamps
  • Trash container
  • Serological pipets and rack
  • Pipettes and stand
  • Gloves
  • Drawers and cabinets, including small instrument and storage drawers
  • Cabinet for small equipment and reagents

Strategically placed common workstations may include:

  • Balance and weighing supplies
  • pH meter and buffers
  • Centrifuge
  • Spectrophotometer
  • Refrigerators and freezers
  • Electrophoresis gel staining and visualization
  • Incubation, drying, and microwave ovens
  • Water baths and dry heat blocks
  • Sterilizers and autoclaves
  • Supply tables and carts
  • Fume hood

For more help setting up your biotech lab space, discuss your plans and concerns with your local Fisher Science Education sales representative.


The above information is the property of Ellyn Daugherty, founder of the San Mateo Biotechnology Career Pathway (SMBCP) and author of Biotechnology: Science for the New Millennium, Second Edition, 2017. For more information, visit