The philosophy behind our project is that we can do better things when we work together, whether that be microbes working together in a co-culture, or iGEM teams collaborating together! Here, we will outline the collaborations we've participated in this year.
We found the interlab study particularly interesting this year because it also related to our project. In the interlab, teams aimed to reduce variations in GFP fluorescence/expression. We think this is an important goal because in our project, we are measuring one of the bacterial populations in our co-culture using GFP. Hence, we wanted to help as many teams as possible participate in the interlab study this year!
We gifted the Guelph iGEM team with black, flat, clear-bottomed, 96 well plates so that they could complete the interlab study.
We gave the McMaster iGEM team E. coli DH5-alpha cells so that they could meet requirement #2 for successful completion of the interlab study.
Mentoring, Brainstorming, and Troubleshooting
We met with the McMaster iGEM team several times early in the year to discuss the different projects each of our teams were considering. We listened to each other's ideas, and provided each other with feedback.
We first met the Guelph iGEM team last year at oGEM 2017 (a meet-up we hosted with Ontario iGEM teams). It was their first year as an iGEM team. They described the struggles and financial barriers they were facing as a new team. We have kept in touch since then. We mentored members on their team about finances this year. Jehoshua Sharma, the Guelph team's head of research, reached out to us this summer to discuss how to obtain funding for an iGEM team. We offered advice regarding:
- how to pitch iGEM to department heads (as an amazing opportunity, a way to showcase the university on an international scale, etc.)
- how to obtain funding by reaching out to various departments/student societies
Members from both of our teams also attended Western SynBio Symposium 3.0 on July 26th, 2018. After the conference, we met up and discussed ways to improve our teams. In particular, we conversed over how to:
- how to lead/motivate a team, specially when experiements fail often
- how to structure a team to have good leadership and team member involvement
how to obtain and maintain funding
oGEM (Ontario iGEM Meet Up)
On July 28th, 2018, we ventured to McMaster University for the annual oGEM meet up. We gathered with iGEM teams from all over Ontario, Canada. We each presented our projects, progress, and obstacles we were facing. We all provided/received feedback from one another.
- obtaining bacterial growth curves, and which medium to use for best results
- amyloid protein overexpression and inclusion body formation
Public Engagement & Outreach
We participated in Heinrich-Heine University, Duesseldorf's postcard collaboration along with several other iGEM teams from all over the world. We designed a postcard communicating our project visually. The purpose was to increase public awareness of synthetic biology and our projects. Here's our postcard:
Check out other teams' postcards!
Having collaborated with the Duesseldorf iGEM team, we learned more about their project and realized that both our projects aim to solve the same problem - but in different ways! We reached out to them and asked them to help us make a video explaining the importance of co-cultures. This video aims to engage and inform the general public on co-cultures and serve as an introduction to our projects.