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In August 2021 we held our first Lab Olympics with six events: pipette transfer, reagent weighing, bone cutting, micorbalance speed, microbalance accuracy, and parafilm shot put. We hope to add some additional events in 2022 and challenge other labs in some team events!

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Using a standard 5.75" Pasteur pipette, transfer 5x10 mL of water from straight-walled culture tubes to a beaker, spilling as little as possible in the process. At least 49.5 mL of water must be transferred as determined by a balance. A 1 second penalty is assessed for every 0.1 mL of water that was not successfully transferred as determined by the mass of the water in the beaker.

2021 Results

1. Paul Szpak: 1:13.50 (49.45 mL)

2. Matt Teeter: 1:36.41 (49.55 mL)

3. Julia McCuaig: 1:37.39 (49.33 mL)


With a single scoopula scoop transfer a predetermined amount of a reagent onto a weighing boat. The lab member with the closest weight to the target is the winner. For the 2021 event this event consistent of weighing 1.000 g of potassium carbonate.

2021 Results

1. Tess Wilson: off by 13.4%

2. Julia McCuaig: off by 26.4%

3. Matt Teeter: off by 30.2%


Using a dental drill, remove a single chunk of bone with a weight that is as close as possible to the target. For the 2021 competition the target was 200 mg and the bone being cut was a kangaroo tibia.

2021 Results

1. Jen Routledge: off by 5.2%

2. Tessa Grogan: off by 15.5%

3. Tess Wilson: off by 30.1%


Weigh five aliquots of a standard reference material and encapsulate them in 4.25x5.00 mm tin capsules as quickly as possible. Capsules must have weights confirmed only after encapsulation is complete. For the 2021 competition the standard was our internal caribou bone collagen standard (SRM-1) and the target weight range was 0.500-0.600 mg.

2021 Results

1. Julia McCuaig: 7:54.93

2. Paul Szpak: 8:25.38

3. Tess Wilson 10:09.42


This event takes place concurrently with the microbalance speed event. The lab member that records the weight closest to the target is the winner. If there is a tie, the second best capsules of the lab members are compared, then the third, and so on. For the 2021 event, the target weight was 0.555 mg.

2021 Results

1. Matt Teeter: 0.000 mg off target on 1 capsule

2. Tessa Grogan: 0.001 mg off target on 2 capsules

3. Tess Wilson 0.001 mg off target on 1 capsule


We have accumulated a 655 g ball of used parafilm. The aim of this event is simple - using strict shot put form, launch the parafilm ball as far as possible. We did not measure distances in 2021. 

2021 Results

1. Matt Teeter

2. Paul Szpak

3. Jen Routledge

Lab Olympics 2021 Paul Pipette Transfer.jpg
Lab Olympics 2021 Julia Reagent Weighing.jpg
Lab Olympics 2021 Tess reagent weighing.jpg
Lab Olympics 2021 Tessa Bone Cutting.jpg
Lab Olympics 2021 Tess Sotput.JPG