Biology Department

Biology Stockroom

StockroomUsing the Stockroom
Planning your Experiment
Employment in the Stockroom

The Reed College Biology Stockroom is located in the basement of the biology building (Room B8). It is open from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday. Jeff Brown (manager) and Greta Glover (instrumentation), along with student workers, prepare many of the reagents and supplies used in biology lab courses. In addition, the stockroom supports student independent projects and senior theses. We have a wide variety of chemicals available, as well as small equipment and disposable lab supplies. Students may use our facilities to make solutions, get technical advice from the knowledgeable staff, and place orders for items needed for their research projects.

Using The Stockroom Laboratory


It is our first priority to ensure that nobody is injured during the course of his or her research!

In the stockroom laboratory, please follow the same basic safety precautions as required in the laboratory classrooms:

  • Closed-toe shoes must be worn at all times
  • Eating and/or drinking is not allowed
  • Remove gloves before leaving the lab or touching common areas such as shelves, faucet handles or doorknobs

Consult a staff member before using chemicals; they can help determine the appropriate procedure for working with a particular chemical, and for safe disposal.

Stockroom Laboratory Procedures

The first time you visit the stockroom, one of the staff will show you around and explain basic stockroom procedures, which are summarized below.

Stockroom shelvesChemicals
We stock many chemicals that are commonly used in biology research, as well as many uncommon ones. If we don't have it, you may still find it on campus by searching the Reed College chemical inventory database. This database contains a searchable list of all chemicals in the Biology, Chemistry and Physics departments. Currently, the database can only be accessed off-line in the Bio stockroom and the Chemistry stockroom (Chem 212).

When you need a chemical, talk to one of the stockroom staff first. You may use stockroom chemicals in one of two ways:

  • Use one of the four stockroom laboratory workstations, or the chemical fume hood, to make up solutions for your experiments, or
  • Take an aliquot of the chemical(s) you need, and make up your solutions in another lab.


Small equipment
Small equipment (such as a water bath or microcentrifuge) may be borrowed from the stockroom, but must be signed out, and may need to be reclaimed without much warning if needed for classes.

Lab disposables
If your research project requires specific tubes, petri dishes, or other supplies that are not stocked in your home lab, check with the stockroom staff. We have many items available, and are happy to answer questions and provide supplies as you are planning your experiments.

Planning Your Experiments

Before you come to the stockroom, take some time to think about the details of your experiment from start to finish. It is easy to get excited about getting started, and to forget about the many minute details that must be considered before diving into the actual experiments. Below are a few things to think about well before you want to actually start your experiments. Save yourself time, and multiple trips!

  • Think through your experimental protocol and make a list of all the supplies, equipment and reagents that you will need.
  • Think about quantities needed. For example, do your calculations for molarity in advance so that you know about how many grams, milligrams, or mililiters of a chemical you will need to ask for. If you need help with calculations or advice about quantities, stockroom staff can help you.
  • Think about shelf life and storage temperature. Some reagents should be made fresh every day, others can be refrigerated or frozen for weeks or even months.
  • Pay attention to the timing of your experiment, make sure that you have access to the equipment you will need during the time of day that you need it. Many rooms are locked in the evenings and on weekends.

If you need to order something for your project, come talk to us or send an email to Jeff Brown ( ). Please be aware that you will need to have your faculty advisor pre-approve any items to be ordered.

Catalogs and ordering information can be found in the Biology Stockroom, or you can look at vendor catalogs online.

Commonly used vendors:
Fisher Scientific and VWR for general lab equipment and standard chemicals.
Sigma Aldrich for chemicals, esoteric and common.
Eurofins Genomics for custom oligonucleotides (i.e. primers)

Employment in the Stockroom

StockroomWorking in the stockroom is a fantastic way to learn your way around a biology research lab.

Student workers assist the stockroom staff with all aspects of stockroom laboratory function, which is centered around the preparation of reagents and equipment for all the lab courses.

Hiring occurs at the start of each semester, and continues until timeslots are full (9AM-4PM, M-F). Come down to the stockroom if you are interested!