What are the guidelines for skeleton crews?
What happens if a member of a skeleton crew gets sick?
Can I be forced to serve on a skeleton crew?
What do I do if I cannot perform meaningful work at home?
How long will these restrictions on laboratory research continue?
Are there plans to close any of our research buildings? Do research staff still have access to their labs if they need to check on things, get data, etc?
Are there plans for research space to be reallocated for clinical care?
Will there be a way to onboard new postdocs/staff to work remotely?
What are directions from CCMS?
Will we be allowed to order animals?
I’m new to the institution and have not yet had my CCMS orientation. What should I do?
Am I allowed to start new experiments?
How do you define Covid-19 related research?
If we need to change patient contacts from in-person to telephone or video, is the IRB ready to evaluate such requested changes in an expedited manner?
Will we be able to submit grants during this period?
What is your advice on travel?
What happens if a shelter-in-place order is given?
What should we do if someone around you at work is symptomatic, and refused to self-quarantine at home?
Are we free to share these guidelines with others outside of the Mount Sinai community?
Will deliveries continue? We will still be able to receive packages from FedEx, UPS, etc?
What about liquid nitrogen, dry ice, etc?
Cryopreservation Support (Freezers, C02, Liquid Nitrogen – LN2) During COVID-19 Lab Disruptions
Reginald W. Miller, DVM, DACLAM
Dean for Research Operations & Infrastructur
Re: Cryopreservation Support (Freezers, C02, Liquid Nitrogen – LN2) During COVID-19 Lab Disruptions
Thank you for participating on the recent Basic Sciences Town Hall Webinar on March 18th. This document addresses several concerns related to cryopreservation support that came up during the call:
Liquid Nitrogen (LN2) and Carbon Dioxide (C02):
The primary vendor for LN2 and C02 in the Metropolitan NY Area is TW Smith. This vendor delivers large, 50 gallon, tanks to campus 2-3 times per week. As a critical care vendor to hospitals and other essential services, TW Smith has received approval to continue operations during emergencies as an Essential Service. Furthermore, healthcare facilities/research institutions receive priority delivery during any shortages in supply. Deliveries of LN2 will continue, without interruption. Labs should plan to have someone on site to receive scheduled deliveries. Note: By design, LN2 tanks continuously evaporate during use or storage to prevent dangerous pressure build-up. Thus, it is impractical to store extra tanks on campus to prevent shortages. Regular deliveries are the best option.
Cryogenic Storage Facility
Although deliveries are expected to continue, best practices suggest establishing back-up plans for unanticipated emergencies (natural disasters, work stoppages, etc). The use of small, Dewer LN2 units, is a common practice within many labs using cell lines. These units, due to their small size, require frequent refilling. The ISSMS has established a Cryogenic Storage Facility outfitted with several large, stainless steel, LN2 tanks, each with a capacity for 700 boxes. These units have an LN2 tank duration of four (4) weeks. Each tank is temperature monitored 24/7 with remote call-out features. It is highly recommended that researchers consider establishing a back up supply of critical cell lines in this facility. Please see below the information for the Cryogenic Storage Facility:
We maintain a state-of-the-art cryogenics facility for long-term storage of cell lines by ISMMS investigators. We can accommodate deposit and delivery of cells as well as viable freezing of cells on a regularly scheduled basis. You can rent a safety deposit box, which contains space for 81 individual vials for $60 per year. We can provide back-up to investigators who have their own freezers or serve as the primary means of viable cell storage. A cost estimate can be obtained by filling out a Cryogenic Facility Rental Request Form. Contact Shen Yao at email@example.com for additional information.
Freezers (-150, -80, -40) and Refrigerators (4C).
Each laboratory should ensure current contact information is attached to each freezer on campus. Contact information must include one external number for after-hours emergencies. Ideally, each unit would also be attached to a temperature monitoring system with a remote call out feature. Finally, where feasible, emergency power should be prioritized for (-80) freezers or other critical storage units (expensive reagents, valuable specimens). Freezers should be checked daily to ensure proper operation.
Failures are an unfortunate reality for all mechanical equipment and freezers are no exception. These failures often occur after-hours or on weekends resulting in catastrophic losses. The ISMMS has engaged with a commercial entity, LabVendor, for after-hours responses to freezer emergencies. The company provides specimen relocation into one of the Hess Freezer Farm back-up units.
To access this service see the Hess Freezer Farm under http:// icahn.mssm.edu/srf.
Contact: Tamjeed Sikder- Manager, Hess Freezer Farm to make arrangements for specimen transfers. Please contact the Hess Freezer Farm if you have specific questions on this program.
Offsite Housing for Freezers:
The ISMMS has maintained an offsite freezer farm in the Bronx, NY, for many years. Storage is free to all Mount Sinai researchers. Due to the limited space on campus for freezers, shortage of emergency power, and best practice of back up storage, investigators are encouraged to explore the off-site freezer storage option. All archival samples should be maintained off-site rather than using valuable on-campus space. Please contact Shekhar Patil, PhD- Core Admin Director (firstname.lastname@example.org), to discuss off-site freezer storage at Brooks, Inc.
The campus vendor for dry ice is Dry Ice Corporation. While there are other smaller vendors, most are subcontractors with Dry Ice, Corp. This vendor is recognized as an Essential Service and thus operates during emergencies. Deliveries of dry ice will continue uninterrupted. However, during the decrease in lab activity, the amount of dry ice required will decrease as well. We must use caution in reducing dry ice delivery amounts as the vendor may prioritize those facilities with the greatest perceived need. Note: Many clinical operations also require small amounts of dry ice (specimen shipping, etc) thus reductions in deliveries may affect those areas. Any reductions in dry ice ordering should be discussed with the Dean’s office before moving forward.
The preceding guidelines should be consulted during and after this COVID-19 emergency as best practices to ensure sample protection and research continuity. Please do not hesitate to contact me directly if you have any questions or suggestions.
Where can people get bleach wipes and hand sanitizer for labs?
Housekeeping: Tony Owhadi 908-307-3764, Carl Brown 347-963-8522, Edwin Mejia
Waste Operations Manager Kenneth Hardwick 347-758-0993
Are Cores open for business during this period?
What do DSO and LSO stand for?
LSO = laboratory safety officer
Who is responsible for making sure our freezers, liquid nitrogen tanks, etc. are functional?
Students and Postdocs
What do I do if I don’t feel comfortable going to work but my PI is forcing me to?
Are there any plans to close Aron hall?
Where do I go to get help with Zoom accounts, home access to online resources, etc?
Also please note that core student/trainee tools like gmail, BlackBoard, Echo 360, Empower, and Levy Library content all can be accessed without a VPN. Sinai Cloud and Sinai Central can also be accessed without a VPN. Should students need VPN to access systems or data behind the firewall, they should contact the Academic IT Support Center (ASCIT): Tele: 212.241.7091, Email: email@example.com.