Lab Move Client – The Szostak Lab
Lab Move Location – Simches Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA
Lab Move Destination – Searle Chemistry Building, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Lab Move Timetable – June 2022 – October 2022
At BTI, we treat all lab moves with kid gloves. Yet it’s difficult to ignore the fact that you are moving a Nobel Prize winner like Dr. Jack Szostak. In 2009, he won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, along with Elizabeth Blackburn and Carol W. Greider, for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres.
BTI had the task of moving his lab at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School to the University of Chicago where Dr. Szostak would be part of the faculty and leading a new interdisciplinary program called the Origins of Life Initiative, which will seek to understand the earliest processes governing the origin of life on Earth and elsewhere in the universe.
Planning for the move began in June 2022 with an initial move-in date of August. Dr. Szostak’s move would require relocation of specimens that needed to be kept at specific temperatures. This required use of three plugged-in freezers, one that maintained temperatures of –80 degrees: another at -30 and the other at four degrees.
BTI had recently installed a 10,000-watt generator on one of our trailers. This would be able to power these cooling units and backup sources of power.
BTI also provided custom crating services for many of the items being moved. For several pieces of equipment in Dr. Szostak’s lab, vendors were to provide customized crating. Several of those vendors faced supply chain issues and could not build the customized crates in time for the move, now scheduled for the end of September. BTI built customized crates for products from OkoLabs https://www.oko-lab.com/, Gyros Protein Technologies https://www.gyrosproteintechnologies.com/ and Petrak Industries (https://www.petrakinc.com/).
The lab relocation began the last week of September. After packing up Dr. Szostak’s lab in Boston, the trucks drove to Ashtabula, Ohio for an overnight at a Mayflower facility. As a Mayflower agent, BTI has the capability to park overnight and utilize other facilities of Mayflower agents. Arriving on Sunday, October 2, we staged the 18-foot wheel tractor trailer and shuttle truck at Glen Ellyn Mayflower https://www.glenellynmoving.com/ in Chicago. There we transferred the freezers and equipment onto a smaller shuttle truck that was powered with a generator. With the smaller vehicle we could access the dock at Searle Chemistry Lab, through the Quad at U Chicago.
Traversing the Quad was another story. That would require a permit and an escort from the facilities department. The relocation continued the next day, arriving at the University of Chicago on October 3rd & 4th. The unpacking and placement took place on the October 4 and all debris was removed at the end of the unpacking.
The unload involved coordination with the specific vendors mentioned above, who would then assemble the equipment at Dr. Szostak’s lab.
By October 4th, Dr. Szostak’s lab had been unpacked and all items assembled and put in place.
This move involved lot of sensitive equipment. George’s team provided specialized packing materials to pack equipment whenever the vendors didn’t provide package materials.
The team was able to give us an accurate arrival time.
George really listened to my concerns and put those into action. He consolidated majority of items going to the same part of the lab on pallets. Those pallets were then delivered to where they would go in the lab. So, when it came time to unpack it wasn’t a treasure hunt. Everything was right where it was supposed to be.
I’ve been working in labs since the 1990s. In that time, I’ve only had one move even close to the size of this one. The rest of the moves had usually been within the same building. I would definitely consider using BTI for an upcoming move.Fanny Ng, lab manager, Szostak Lab