19 Things You’ll Find In A Life Sciences Lab

Have you ever wondered what goes on inside a pharmaceutical laboratory? Life Sciences labs are home to many processes that happen to get your medicine from the lab and into your hands. These processes involve everything from different testing equipment and tools to chemical ingredients and substances.


The good kind, of course. In a pharmaceutical lab, you will find many drugs we use to treat various medical conditions or aim to do so. Some common drugs you will find in a pharmaceutical lab can include small molecules, biologics, vaccines, or even cell therapies.

Raw materials are actually the starting point for any pharmaceutical product. These materials must meet strict quality standards and be free of contaminants.

Safety first.

A pharmaceutical lab is a place where drugs are manufactured. The government highly regulates pharmaceutical labs to ensure the safety of the drugs produced there. As a result, safety is a top priority in these types of labs.

Another critical piece of safety equipment in a pharmaceutical lab is protective clothing. The essential safety equipment includes simple things like gowns, gloves, goggles, and lab coats. And let’s not forget the complete biohazard suit for scientist working with dangerous viruses. Brrr. Scary stuff.

Overall, safety is of the utmost importance in a pharmaceutical lab. The safety equipment used in these labs helps to protect our precious scientists.

Save the planet: Waste Disposal

Pharmaceutical labs have to dispose of a lot of waste, and there are special regulations that they have to follow. Therefore, waste disposal is a big part of running a pharmaceutical lab.

Pharmaceutical labs have to deal with two main types of waste: hazardous waste and non-hazardous waste. Hazardous waste includes things like chemicals and radioactive materials. Non-hazardous waste includes things like paper and plastic.

These labs have to follow particular regulations when disposing of hazardous waste. For example, they must ensure that the hazardous waste is properly labelled and stored. They also have to keep track of how much hazardous waste they produce.

Labs can dispose of non-hazardous waste in regular trash cans. However, pharmaceutical labs have to make sure that they don’t mix hazardous and non-hazardous waste that could cause problems with the disposal process.


An autoclave is a machine that sterilizes equipment and supplies by subjecting them to high-pressure steam. Autoclaves are an essential piece of equipment in any pharmaceutical lab, as they help to ensure that all of the lab’s supplies and equipment are free of bacteria and other contaminants.

Autoclaves work by heating water to create steam, which is then used to sterilize the equipment and supplies. The steam penetrates small spaces and crevices, killing any bacteria or other contaminants that may be present.


Incubators are essential pieces of equipment in a pharmaceutical lab. Culture cells, bacteria, and other microorganisms can grow in these controlled environments. In addition, they can be set to specific temperatures and humidity levels. This allows scientists to study the effects of different conditions on the growth of these organisms.

Incubators are usually made of stainless steel or Glass. They have a chamber that is big enough to hold several Petri dishes. The chamber is usually kept at a temperature of 37 degrees Celsius. This is the temperature that is optimal for the growth of most cells and bacteria.

You knew this one was coming, right? Petri dishes

Petri dishes are abundant in any pharmaceutical lab. They are used to grow bacteria and other microorganisms. Petri dishes are usually made of Glass or plastic, with a lid that helps keep the contents sterile.

We use these to study the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms. If you’re planning to work in a pharmaceutical lab, you’ll likely use petri dishes regularly because they’re paramount for most experiments and studies.

Chromatography Machines

Chromatography machines are used in pharmaceutical labs to separate and purify different chemicals. This is done by passing a mixture of chemicals through a column of adsorbent material. The different chemicals in the mixture will travel through the column at different speeds based on their interactions with the adsorbent material. This allows the different chemicals to be separated from each other.

Chromatography machines are essential for pharmaceutical labs because they allow for the precise separation of chemicals. This is important for ensuring that pharmaceutical products meet safety and quality standards.

PCR Machines

Remember this one from that whole COVID issue we had? PCR machines are used in pharmaceutical labs to amplify DNA. This process is vital in the development of new drugs and the testing of existing drugs. PCR machines use a process called polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to amplify DNA.

In PCR, a small amount of DNA is amplified to produce a large amount of DNA. This process is vital in developing new drugs because it allows researchers to study a small amount of DNA and then create a more considerable amount for further study. PCR is also necessary for the testing of existing drugs. By amplifying DNA, researchers can more accurately test for the presence of mutations that may cause side effects.


A spectrophotometer is a scientific instrument used to measure light intensity as a function of its wavelength. Spectrophotometers are used in many other fields, including physics, chemistry, and biology.

In a pharmaceutical lab, spectrophotometers are often used to measure the concentration of drugs in solution. They can also be used to analyze the purity of drugs and to determine the identity of unknown compounds.

Spectrophotometers pass a beam of light through a sample and then measure the intensity of the light that is transmitted or reflected. The wavelength of light absorbed by the sample can tell scientists a lot about the sample’s chemical makeup.

Overall, spectrophotometers are crucial tools in pharmaceutical labs. They are used to measure the concentration of drugs, analyze their purity, and identify unknown compounds.

Laminar flow cabinet

A laminar flow cabinet is a type of enclosed workstation that is typically used in pharmaceutical and medical laboratories. The cabinet is designed to create a safe and sterile work environment by using a laminar, or uninterrupted, flow of air. They are typically made of stainless steel and have a glass window in the front.

Laminar flow cabinets have several important safety features.

  1. First, they are equipped with HEPA filters that remove contaminants from the air.
  2. Second, the cabinets have UV lights that kill bacteria and other microorganisms.
  3. Third, some cabinets are also equipped with built-in gloves and gowns that protect workers from exposure to hazardous materials.

Overall, laminar flow cabinets are an important part of safety in a pharmaceutical lab. They provide a safe and sterile work environment for workers and help to protect them from exposure to hazardous materials.

Balances & Scales

We’ve already mentioned several ‘essential’ types of equipment found in a pharmaceutical lab, but one of the most important is the balances and scales. These are used to measure various ingredients and chemicals accurately (surprise). But, without these, it would be tough to create effective medications.

Balances and scales come in many different sizes and shapes. Some are large, and some are small. Some can measure minimal quantities, while others can handle more significant amounts.

Refrigerators & Freezers

Most compounds don’t do so well when left at room temperature. So refrigerators and freezers store drugs and other materials at a cold temperature to keep the drugs from degrading or becoming unsafe. Refrigerators and freezers also help keep lab samples fresh and contamination-free.

Refrigerators and freezers come in many different sizes and shapes. They can be small enough to fit on a countertop or large enough to stand alone. Some of them have glass doors to peek at what is inside.

Refrigerators and freezers usually have temperature control, so you can set them to the exact temperature you need, which can be very specific in the Life Sciences industry;

  • -4 to +2ºC for refrigerator storage
  • -40 to 0ºC for frozen storage
  • -70 to -40ºC for ultra-low storage

Pretty cold, hm?

Beakers & flasks

Beakers to hold liquids. Flasks to hold solids or powders! Both beakers and flasks come in various sizes so that scientists can use them for different purposes.

Beakers and flasks can be made of plastic which is the least expensive, but Glass is the preferred material because it doesn’t react with chemicals and is more durable.


We could say this is the scientist’s weapon of choice. A pipette is a small, precision instrument used in laboratories to measure and transfer small volumes of liquid. Pipettes come in different sizes and can be either manual or electronic. 

They are used to transfer liquids from one container to another and can be used to measure small volumes of liquid with great accuracy. Additionally, they get calibrated frequently to measure tiny volumes of liquid with great accuracy!


A microscope is a laboratory instrument used to magnify so we can more easily study or examine cells, bacteria, and other tiny particles.

There are two main types of microscopes: compound microscopes and stereo microscopes. Compound microscopes use a series of lenses to magnify an object, while stereo microscopes create a three-dimensional image of an object. 


A microcentrifuge is a small, electrically powered centrifuge used in laboratory settings to separate small amounts of liquid. For example, they are commonly used in pharmaceutical labs to spin down small samples of blood or other fluids.

Microcentrifuges typically have a maximum speed of around 16,000 RPM. They are designed to be used with little tubes, typically less than 2 mL in volume. Microcentrifuges usually have a timer so that the user can set the desired spin time. In addition, they allow for the quick and efficient separation of small samples, which can be helpful when working with limited quantities of material.

Office Supplies and Furniture

You may have guessed it. At this point, we were running out of fresh ideas. But you need to be able to sit from time to time, right? Labs aren’t much different. You’ll find typical office supplies and furniture in a pharmaceutical lab, like desks, chairs, computers, and printers.

The scientists!

Scientists are people who work in pharmaceutical labs. In the end, they are responsible for conducting research and developing our new medications.

The work of scientists is essential to the development of new medications. Without their work, we would not have many of the life-saving medications we have today. So, we’ll finish this article with a shout-out to all the scientists constantly searching for new ways to treat diseases and improve the quality of life for people worldwide. Great work, people! 


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