Is a home Lab for research into ageing (Biogerontology) possible?

Hey everyone.

I am currently at UCL undertaking a masters.It is my dream to work in a lab where I can freely research into the biology behind the ageing process and if possible attempt to increase both healthspan and lifespan for the average person. 

I am happy at UCL (I'm working with C.Elegans in research related to ageing) yet I probably won't be here when my masters ends. What I know about research in academia is that upon completion of a masters, one undertakes a PhD and then after 3-4 years you move onto a postdoc which may last 4-5 years. It is normal for the researcher to then undergo another postdoc for 4-5 years until finally it comes to the point in your career in which you could become a principle
investigator (PI). As a principle investigator (PI) I will be free to run my own lab. The problem here is that it is extremely competitive for a postdoc to become a principle investigator (PI) and further more it is normal for senior postdocs to no longer be accepted at universities due to the rising salaries that a university has to pay (in other words younger postdocs are cheaper). So should I fail to become a PI I will no longer have access to a laboratory.I want to have access to a lab, to constantly research until the day I die. The idea of being forced to abandon research deeply depresses me. 

So my question will be about the possibility of building my own lab. In the field of Biogerontology the common model organisms used are C. Elegans, Drosophila, Yeast and Mice. Is it possible for someone to build a home lab tailored for research into ageing using these model organisms? I understand my question is ambiguous in that I have no specific project in mind. I believe a more general question will have to do for now as I'm still thinking over what I ought to specialise in (could be stem cells in ageing, metabolism in ageing, epigenetics in ageing... there are many sub-fields within this field). So in spite of the vague question... is such a lab possible considering using these model organisms? If there is anyone here who shares my interest for ageing and has attempted to build their own lab for such research, I would highly appreciate any advice. 

Thank you to all who took the time to read this. 


  • edited December 2015
    As long as you have the resources, you can do this.

    There is a basic set of equipment that you need for any biology work, and that you need to focus a bit on a project so that you can start picking hardware. Not having one definitive project that you are working on can lead to getting spread a little thin and having tools that you don't end up using etc. 

    Pick a large project. Then break it into ten smaller projects. Then pick one of those. Then break that down.  If you are getting your masters, then you probably understand how to focus on a small concept for a paper. It's the same way for lab design.

    I have a friend who is building a lab to work on ageing related research. She is mostly doing application work instead of research.  The estimate for the hardware, initial reagents, cultures, etc, gets a wee bit steep. Again, it's all about your resources.

    So, find a project, start small, a start building up your hardware :)

    EDIT: One last thing. Get your stuff together first, then start the lab. If you try to do it piecemeal, you won't be able to work on anything. Either save you cash, and then hit it all at once, or stockpile hardware in bits until you are ready.
  • I'm interested in knowing what "basic set of equipment that you need for any biology work" entails. are there any tutorials on setting up this kind of basic lab or can anyone share their own lab setups? I have begun compiling lab equipment for my own research, but so far i just have a bunch of beakers and flasks in a metal cabinet.
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