Dear Stanley: Molecular QC Best Practices

Dear Stanley,

I’m wondering if you have tips for QC in the molecular lab?  We’re starting up a new training program and are looking for best practices to share with our staff.


Columbus, Ohio

Dear Shirley,

You’ve come to the right place!  Below is a list of my top five best practices for molecular QC laboratories:

1.  Aseptic technique is crucial.

  • Close any tubes/cartridges whenever not directly in use
  • Use fresh pipette tips for each step
  • Never reach your arms over your work space
  • Change gloves frequently
  • Ensure the entire workplace is clean. For example, if you have an instrument with a handheld scanner on it, make sure to clean the scanner frequently. This is a common culprit for contamination when false positives occur.

2.  Pay close attention to detail.

  • Always link the appropriate assay, hydrating fluid, product number and lot number together
  • Be sure to follow instructions thoroughly and load appropriate volumes, never going out of order

3.  Ask for advice. 

If you’re working very intensely on a project, a coworker with an external perspective and fresh eye can catch details you might be missing or help troubleshoot an unexpected or errant result.

4.  Precision is everything.

  • Make sure correct and exact volumes are pipetted – verify pipettes frequently
  • Ensure the correct sample collection devices are used

5.  Get to know your instruments.

Anyone can learn how to run a diagnostic system like the GeneXpert®, BD MAX™ or BioFire®, but the ability to troubleshoot issues stems from fully understanding the tool(s) you’re working with.

For more advice on molecular QC, please reach out to the experts on our Technical Support Team at 1.320.229.7045 or



Stanley Staphylococcus is a Master Micro-Technologist at Microbiologics, where he is responsible for helping customers understand why microorganisms behave the way they do. You could say he’s somewhat of a psychologist. Microbiologics has been lucky to have Stanley, a graduate of Gram-Positive Cocci University, as a member of their renowned Technical Support Team for over 20 years. Stanley says his favorite type of people are microbiologists and he enjoys traveling far and wide to meet them. Amazingly, Stanley has been on every continent – even Antarctica!

How to submit inquiries: There are two ways to get Stanley’s help. You can email your questions to or you can simply submit an inquiry from our Dear Stanley page. For urgent issues, please contact our Technical Support Team at 1.320.229.7045 or

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