The first step in creating this laboratory is to build a space that will be quality focused and process driven. We've secured a nice space in a building in Millcreek (South East of downtown Salt Lake City) and for the past month and a half, we've been building out the lab to meet our needs. Progress has felt slow, but we are getting there!
Here are some pictures of our progress (I'd like everyone to note the windows and scenic views of our laboratory space, a rarity in the forensic field!)...
Entry/Admin (Oct 2019)
This is the Entry to the lab and the doors to (from right to left) Serology, Pre-PCR and Post PCR). As you can see, we will have windows into each lab for display and educational purposes.
Serology Lab (Oct 2019)
This will be our Serology area. We will have two stations setup at our opening with room for more. Serology is the first step of the Forensic DNA process where evidence is cataloged and samples of biological significance (blood, saliva, semen, "touch"/wearer) are taken and moved into the DNA extraction process.
Pre-Amplification Laboratory (Oct 2019)
This will be our Pre-Amplification laboratory. Here we will do DNA extraction where cells are "popped" and the DNA is pulled out of them and purified. We will also setup our Quantification assay here, used to determine how much initial DNA we have to work with. Lastly, we will setup Amplification assays here. We will use a process called Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) to make massive amounts of copies of the DNA we have extracted from the evidence. This allows us to work with tiny amounts of DNA that then gets amplified via our "DNA photocopier", PCR!
Post Amplification A (Oct 2019)
Post Amplification B (Oct 2019)
Here we have the post amplification room, also called the "dirty room". Massive copies of DNA are taken to this room and run on instruments to develop DNA profiles. This location will house our Verogen Miseq FgX Next Generation Sequencing instrument and our Thermo Fisher 3500 Capillary Electrophoresis Genetic Analyzer. These will be our two main sources of DNA profiles in the laboratory. We will also have Thermal Cyclers and our Quant Studio, instruments that do our amplification and quantification for us. Because we have billions of copies of DNA in this room, it is sometimes called the "dirty room". We will use negative air pressure to ensure the air doesn't escape back into the other areas of the lab and clean/decontamination techniques to keep our other laboratory areas contamination free.
And here is our progress pictures.....
Admin/Entry Area (Nov 2019)
Serology (Nov 2019)
Pre-Amplification (Nov 2019)
Post Amplification A/B (Nov 2019)
As you can tell, we are progressing! The "bones" are nearly done, so we'll have some significant progress in the next few weeks. Stay tuned, I'll keep you updated.