From diagnostic laboratories to university labs, there is a wide range of laboratory types. To learn more about the specific purposes, practices, and functions of the most common types of labs, read this guide on the different types of laboratories.
Diagnostic laboratories primarily run tests on clinical specimens such as urine, blood, triglycerides, or cholesterols. Health professionals complete such tests to gain patient health information regarding disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Often, they may request follow-up tests to gain more data and an increased level of certainty regarding the rejection or approval of a diagnosis. At times, such tests may be highly specialized.
Similar to diagnostic laboratories, hospital laboratories primarily run tests on clinical specimens to gain information regarding patient health. Such information typically pertains to diagnosis, treatment, and disease prevention. In addition, hospital laboratories receive funding through grants and frequently run a variety of assays. The main differences between the two laboratories are that hospital labs connect to a hospital and sometimes perform emergency work.
The United States Department of Energy sponsors the research that researchers conduct in national laboratories. Such research focuses on science and the humanities and involves completing tests that are either qualitative or quantitative. Responsibilities of such labs include undertaking various energy-related national projects such as the nation’s nuclear weapons program or the Human Genome Project.
Clinical laboratories undertake several lab procedures to help physicians diagnose, treat, and manage patients. Such labs will analyze and test clinical specimens collected from patients to address the needs of medical and public health. To provide easy access to physicians and patients, clinical labs are often located within or near a hospital. Typically, these healthcare facilities have units that pertain to subjects such as Microbiology, Genetics, Hematology, Virology, or Toxicology.
Research and university laboratories
Research and university laboratories focus on either scientific research or research in the humanities. Researchers in these laboratories will typically work with or alongside principal investigators and post-doctorates. Often, university laboratories will include research labs as well as teaching labs where student demonstrations and classroom practices take place.
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