Beth Griffin was a Research Assistant at Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center at Emory University when she was splashed in the eye with fluids from a rhesus macaque.  She acquired a Cercopithecine herpesvirus 1 (B virus) infection and died 42 days after exposure.  She was 22 years old.

Every day, high school and university students walk into science laboratories.  They may be students fulfilling a curriculum requirement, interns, or budding researchers.  Will they have received safety training unique to the potential biological, chemical, and physical hazards they may encounter in their lab environments?  Will they have received training that they understand given their ages and limited experience working in a lab?

To ensure young scientists learn safe lab practices, the National Institutes of Health has published a truly one-of-its-kind laboratory safety training developed for students.  This training, called STAR-LITE (Safe Techniques Advance Research – Laboratory Interactive Training Environment), is web-based and available for free.

STAR-LITE is built on a video game platform.  It allows users to determine their own fate as they step through a series of lab experiments.  The training covers biological, chemical, and physical hazards, safe work methods, engineering controls, and personal protective equipment.  It includes lesson plans for teachers to download for classroom use.

Thank you NIH.  You’ve demonstrated an innovative (and fun) way to teach an otherwise ignored subject.

STAR-LITE is dedicated to Beth Griffin and all young scientists and their families who have needlessly suffered exposure to preventable lab-based accidents.