In my opinion, one of the things that really makes working in the Perry lab special is our ancient DNA lab (AKA aLab). Our aLab is a dedicated clean space where we can extract and process DNA samples from really old and/or degraded specimens. Members of the lab group have worked with bones and teeth from extinct species, as well as those from prehistoric specimens of extant (still living) species. Some examples include subfossil giant lemurs, gourds and squashes, and even taxidermied skin samples from Nittany lions, PSU's beloved mascot!
We do this amplification step in our modern lab, which means that our building is full of floating, microscopic DNA bits. So is every other building that contains a genetics lab. Everything aLab-related happens in the basement of one of the Physics buildings on campus, which is rather lucky for me because then I get to go see Dan more frequently during the day :)
Our standard aLab attire protocol begins before you even leave your house. A shower and freshly laundered clothes help to avoid contamination from the start of your day. Once there, we glove up, then put on our clean suits. These suits are basically footy pajamas' evil cousin, but keep our DNA to ourselves which is really all we can ask of them.
We wear face masks and a second pair of blue booties that can be changed more frequently than the more-expensive clean suits. A second pair of gloves over your first completes the look, as long as you check the little mirror by the door to make sure any stray hairs (including eyebrows) are safely tucked away in our hairbands. This entire suiting up process occurs on a sticky floor mat in the doorway that catches any dust or hairs while we change.