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Addresses outcomes 1, 2, and 4:

  • demonstrate proficiency in the fundamentals of biological science by effectively communicating and participating in the design, implementation, and presentation of scientific studies
  • apply the scientific method to make observations and weigh evidence about the strengths and limitations of empirical findings in the biological sciences
  • apply ethical practices and knowledge of safety and health policies and regulations to make informed decisions about research use and applications

The final assessment for this course will be a substantial final project.  To successfully complete this assignment, you will need to integrate concepts and skills learned throughout the course, apply them to a real-world situation, and develop and write a project report according the criteria and details provided in the Project Descriptions area.

As you read the case study, analyze functioning of the company in terms of scientific rigor, ethical considerations, safety concerns, and health policies.  Identify any problems or inconsistencies in the company that have led to current operating conditions and the public perception of the company. In your written analysis provide a review of each divisions of the company and their responsibilities. Suggest actions to improve operating conditions and public perception of the company.

*Type a 4-5 page paper following the format of:

  • double-spaced 12 font, 1″ left-right top-bottom margins
  • Research the issue identified using at least 3 sources. Only 1 Internet source can “count” as a source. You must include a reference section at the end of your paper following a standard citation model (APA or MLA).
  • The final project will be submitted in a MS word document in the WebTycho classroom.
  • Save your file as Lastname_FirstInitial_FinalProject.docx

*Lay-out of the Final Paper

  • Brief introduction to lab safety, ethics, and best lab practices. Identify with a purpose statement they key points of your assessment of the Case Study.
  • Scientific Assessment: Identify problems or inconsistencies in the company. What tests or regulations should be discussed at Best Pet Test in order to ensure compliance?
  • Summary and Conclusion: A comprehensive review of the evidence you presented with final recommendations for the company.

Case Study
Renee is the lab safety manager for a small (<50 employees) blood and urine sample
analysis company, Best Pet Test, Inc. The company receives samples from veterinarian
offices and animal shelters in the tri-state area. Rene began working with Best Pet Test
six months earlier. Her predecessor, Harold, held the position for 15 years and did not
keep accurate records. Rene has been looking through old files and contacting clients,
suppliers, and contractors to better grasp the current status of workflow at Best Pet Test,
Inc.

In the sample analysis lab, ten employees and one supervisor are responsible for
receiving, cataloging, and testing samples. When samples arrive, they are given a bar-
coded decal in order to track them through the process. For the last year, however, the
two of the three hand-held bar-code readers have not been working and staff compensate
by adding a hand written label to the samples. Recently, the lab staff has begun to notice
inconsistencies in the performance or results of sample testing. Below is a graph of a
recent real-time or quantitative PCR of canine blood samples for the presence of a
bacterial pathogen (Figure 1). The solid line on the graph represents the negative control
sample, which contained water plus reagents. The dotted lines represent the test samples.
Upon seeing the results, the lab supervisor, Beth, is not pleased with her employees’ lab
techniques.

Figure 1. Real-time PCR test for the presence of bacterial pathogen among dogs.

Beth has asked Rene to visit the testing lab and identify behavior or methods that may not
be within safety and health regulations for work with blood-bourne pathogens. Beth
explains to Rene that Harold would provide a training seminar on lab safety to personnel

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once every two years. Since Harold was known for taking shortcuts, Beth was concerned
that he had not presented the most recent safety guidelines available or enforce accepted
standards. Lab staff members are often seen in the lunch area or mail room wearing their
lab coats. Once in the lab, Rene notices an overfilled Sharps container and unlabeled
bottles of chemicals cluttering the fume hoods. All staff members testing blood samples
were wearing gloves and eye protection, but two individuals had their morning coffee
sitting next to a centrifuge. Rene prepares a short presentation of proper lab safety to
provide to the lab staff and includes personal protective equipment, waste disposal and
emergency protocols.

Rene’s week has gone from bad to worse. A local newspaper has published a story that
laboratory waste with labels from Best Pet Test, Inc. was found at an abandoned quarry
nearby. Since the story was published that morning, your company has received
numerous phone calls from concerned citizens. The company owner has requested Rene
investigate where there was a failure in the removal and incineration of the laboratory
waste. Rene knows from invoices that a waste incineration company (Medi-Waste) has
been paid in the past to pick up weekly from the loading doc. Rene travels to the quarry
and collects several samples of discarded polycarbonate test tubes, and two bags of lab
wastes with used agarose gels, nitrocellulose membranes from Southern Blots, and
disposable pipettes. Rene does not contact the county health department at that time; she
decides to wait until she examines the collected wastes at the company. Furthermore, she
is unsure if there is ethidium bromide or radioactive material contaminating the gels and
membranes. The company owner has stressed to Rene to provide a clean and efficient
analysis of the situation in order to avoid poor public relations. The owner does not want
to lose customers or receive additional bad publicity. Rene designs a short experiment to
track which wastes may be contaminated with hazardous materials. She also begins
surveying the habits of the lab members and the janitorial staff.

Grading Rubric
Exceptional

(86-100%)
Fair Assessment
(70-85%)

Poor or
Unacceptable
(<70%)

Score and
Comments

Organization
and Layout
(10 points)

Objectives well-
organized and in
a logical
sequence. Page
length
requirement met

Stated objectives
are not followed
in a logical
manner.

No Objectives or
Statement of
Purpose included.
Page length
requirement not
met.

Written
Format
(grammar,
writing
style)
(10 points)

Language and
terminology used
accurately.
Spelling,
punctuation and
grammar

Writing is
somewhat clear.
Scientific or lab
terms used
sparingly, but
accurately.

Scientific or lab
terms used
improperly.
Numerous spelling
or grammatical
mistakes. Writing

properly used.
Writing style is
professional and
not casual.

Spelling,
punctuation and
grammar mostly
properly used.

or presentation
style is casual.

Introduction
(25 points)

Researched and
identified proper
lab safety, ethics,
and best practices
for this type of
lab setting.
Provides
statement of
criteria
investigated in
the paper.

Proper lab safety,
ethics or best
practices
discussed are not
fitting with this
lab setting.
Statement of
criteria
investigated
unclear.

Fails to address one
or more of the
critical lab areas.
Statement of
criteria not
provided.

Scientific
Assessment
(30 points)

Identified
problems or
inconsistencies in
the company or
lab practices.
Researched tests
or regulations
that should be
followed at the
company to
ensure
compliance.
Provides
recommendations
based on
assessment.

Problems or
inconsistencies
identified.
Limited research
identified in order
for the company
to be
incompliance.

Too few problems
or inconsistencies
identified. No
course of action
recommended for
the company to be
in compliance.

Summary
and
Conclusions
(25 points)

Depth of
understanding of
lab environment
reflected.
Statements
linked to key
aspects of lab
organization,
safety protocols,
and
communication.
Final
recommendations
included.

Depth of
understanding of
lab environment
reflected. Key
aspects and
protocols
reviewed are not
fully discussed in
paper. Brief
recommendation
included.

Superficial
understanding of
lab environment.
Key aspects and
protocols reviewed
are not provided in
paper. No final
recommendations
included.

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