College of Letters and Science Lab Safety Award Winner
Dr. Emilija Pantic is a member of the Dark Matter and Neutrino research group in the Physics and Astronomy department.
The Pantic Lab develops detector components for large, complex, and sensitive liquid noble-based detector systems, to be used in experimental searches for dark-matter interactions.
The Pantic Lab works with cryogenic noble liquids under high voltages, exposed to radioactive sources, in a very clean environment. To prepare new lab members for the safety risks in the Pantic Lab, each lab member gets long-term, one-on-one training working with more experienced lab members. The Pantic Lab also requires annual lab-specific safety training and a detailed standard operating procedure (SOP) during the training period, even when the SOP is not strictly required. This helps new lab members to visualize the full process and identify missing steps or issues, until they become more proficient. All the Pantic Lab's SOPs are accessible online with links posted on our lab doku-wiki website. Collaborations with many different national and international labs also help the Pantic Lab with maintaining the lab safety culture.
Members of the Pantic Lab routinely clean and declutter the lab and try to keep a lot of open space so that the lab setting can be rearranged to better serve their current needs. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pantic Lab spread all the working tables apart and assigned one table and chair per person, to prevent the potential spread of the virus. Additionally, the Pantic Lab regularly troubleshoots things that might impact our safety or quality of research work. For example, the lab has become dusty and is affected by indoor air-quality issues at times [EH&S note: the Pantic Lab is collaborating with the Industrial Hygiene team on mitigating this issue].
The Pantic Lab plans to use their Lab Safety Award prize to purchase portable air purifiers.