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Update: Lab Operations & Equipment Use

March 20, 2020

Dear Duke Engineering graduate students, postdoctoral associates and research staff, 

Many of you are involved in vital research that is adversely affected by efforts to contain COVID-19. However, the health and safety of the members of our community are paramount. 

Limited activity may be needed to prevent loss of sensitive items or maintain animals, and that must be approved by the plans sent to the Senior Associate Dean for Research. Other than that limited time within our facilities, the expectation is that all Pratt personnel are working remotely.  

Even if your faculty mentor or research PI has listed you as essential personnel, your efforts to perform any work in Duke facilities is voluntary and you cannot be forced to maintain laboratory research if you are concerned that you are placed at risk of disease. If there are disagreements, graduate students are encouraged to speak to the department DGS or DMS, whose role is to advocate for students. Postdocs are encouraged to reach out to their chair, departmental HR administrator, departmental faculty-postdoc liaison, or the Office of Postdoctoral Services concerning any disagreements.

We have also received questions about lab members taking research equipment home in order to continue working remotely. No laboratory equipment may be removed from Pratt facilities or purchased for use at home. If you would like to request an exception, please contact me at  

I also call your attention to recently updated guidance and reminders related on laboratory operations changes from the Duke University Office of Research. The information is posted at

If you have questions or need assistance, please email

Thank you for your continued efforts to safeguard the health of our community.

George A. Truskey
Senior Associate Dean