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Wet Lab vs. Dry Lab: What's the Difference?

wet lab vs dry lab

Wet labs and dry labs are two very different environments, but both play a crucial role in a number of scientific jobs and discoveries! A lot of scientific studies require research and data from both wet and dry labs, but the laboratories themselves couldn't be more different. Today we're going to take a look at wet and dry labs to show you the differences between the two spaces.

What is a wet lab?

Wet labs (also known as experimental labs) are designed for handling and researching a range of 'wet' materials including:

  • liquids
  • chemicals
  • biological matter
  • drugs
  • enzymes

A wet lab might look a bit like a typical 'laboratory' that you sat in during your science lessons at school or university. You'll remember seeing Bunsen burners, sinks and a wide range of experimental apparatus and safety features around the room, all of which are there to help you carry out experiments & keep you safe. 

In order for scientists to work safely in a wet lab, the workspace needs to be carefully designed to eliminate hazards. When doing 'wet' experiments with hazardous materials, there's a potential risk of chemical spills, fires and even injuries, so wet labs need to be fully equipped for the potential challenges.

Researchers that work in a wet lab need to know and understand laboratory techniques and safety procedures. Most scientists that work in a wet lab will have a degree in their chosen field, and will have gained lots of experience working in wet labs during their studies. Someone with poor scientific or safety knowledge could be a real risk in a wet lab!


Examples of wet lab jobs

If you're interested in working in a wet lab where you'll be handling chemicals, drugs and other physical samples, there are lots of jobs for you to choose from. Here are just a few sectors that could be perfectly suited to you.

  • Bioprocessing
  • Quality control
  • Drug discovery
  • Forensics
  • Life sciences
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Clinical research

Use the buttons below to navigate to some of the science roles we currently have on offer in wet lab fields!

Drug Discovery Roles >    Life Science Roles >    Bioprocessing Roles >    Pharmaceutical >

What is a dry lab?

 A dry lab is a laboratory space set up for computational simulations & experiments. Rather than carrying out physical tests on chemicals, drugs and other samples, scientists in dry laboratories use computer-generated models to simulate scenarios in our physical realm. This could include (but is not limited to) simulating:

  • molecular changes of state
  • event horizons of black holes
  • predicting the growth of certain cancers

These computational simulations are often used to explore scenarios that are too dangerous or impossible to test in a wet laboratory. Most dry labs are filled with high-tech computers and equipment that is capable of handling tasks similar to those outlined above. Some of the results that come from a dry lab are theoretical and not yet plausible. That being said, the research done in dry labs can help scientists predict phenomenon with a relatively high degree of accuracy, making dry-labbing one of the most important elements of modern-day scientific research.


Examples of dry lab jobs

If you're interested in working in a dry lab where you'll be processing data and creating computational simulations, you'll find lots of suitable roles in these sectors:

  • Academia and research
  • Information systems and technology
  • Engineering
  • Data science
  • Technology

Use the buttons below to navigate to some of the science roles we currently have on offer in dry lab fields!

Academia Roles >     Information Systems and Technology Roles >    Engineering >    Technology >