One of the values we can learn from iGEM is the ability to collaborate with many enthusiastic students from all over the world. This year we made cooperation with students from team Biomarvel_Korea and team Imperial College_London.
[Fig 1] Biomarvel team member & KUAS_KOREA Team member
This year, team KUAS_Korea has been collaborating with team Biomarvel_Korea high school iGEM team. We shared our trials and errors KUAS_Korea have made in iGEM for past few years as well as general understandings in synthetic biology which could help them starting things up.
Biomarvel_Korea is a high school team, and this is their first year in iGEM. This time they are aiming for synthesizing GBP-ProG fusion protein for electrochemical biosensor, which detects heart failure with high accuracy, inexpensive cost and high sensitivity. It is such a brilliant project reflecting socio-contextual issues, so feel free to find more of them at their wiki.
Two teams, Kuas and Biomarvel have consistently communicated through e-mail and Facebook for collaboration. The first offline meet-up was held on August 10th, and at the moment both teams were still at the stage of setting basic concepts and principals of the project. We discussed each team’s projects and gave comments regarding the direction of the project and further points to elaborate. Listening from the outer perspective, especially from young active students was a truly helpful and intriguing experience.
Besides contents of the project itself, collaboration with Biomarvel_Korea was meaningful enough in the means of giving a real help to difficulties most of the iGEMers are facing. We went through some basic requirements for iGEM together such as project scheduling, wiki management, part submission and some other fulfilments for medal criteria, which can be often too overwhelming to manage all by themselves. This also actually helped us to look back and go through our own works and make sure that everything was properly managed to be reviewed and rewarded.
Overall, during the whole process of communication and content sharing, we gained valuable learnings on cooperation from their genuine thoughts and authenticity towards the project.
With Imperial College_London, we proceeded Kuas’s team survey and discussed about each team’s project. Imperial College_London were trying to develop a team communication app that allows every member of the team an equal opportunity to voice their opinions and concerns. Accordingly, to design their app and ensure its effectiveness, they needed help from the iGEM community on deciding the content of the app. Kuas teammates were deeply interested in team communication issues and had many discussions on similar topics before, so we were glad to deliver our thoughts about the team communication by conducting individual surveys on August 17th.
Also we provided feedback on their science communication guide, which helps scientists to tackle inconsistency problems in synthetic biology when it comes to sharing information with non-scientists and with the public. Providing feedback to their guide was a valuable experience, giving our Human Practice team the opportunity to learn attitudes to have when performing public engagements.
Since Korea and the United Kingdom are so far to have an actual meet-up, we have consistently been in contact through e-mail, Facebook, and online Skype. The first online meet-up was on August 18th through email. Imperial College were working on controlling bacterial gene expression on a 2D plane using electrical stimuli from electrode placed at specific coordinates. Their project was very intriguing and as same undergraduates, Kuas thought our team could provide feedback on their project and also get wet-lab advice and feedback on our project from Imperial College_London.
On September 5th, we did oral description about each project and actual feedback by videochat. Human practice member of Imperial College_London first asked about our project and gave advice, and KUAS also gave feedback on Imperial College_London’s project. On our concern about new variable in microbial system, Imperial College_London recommended the concept “pioneer” as a creator of nutrients. Also, like suggesting quorum sensing system which gave us fresh inspiration on detecting microorganism, Imperial College gave us good opinion on our overall project. We checked Imperial College_London’s project progress and provided some feedback. On the latter part of videochat, we talked about Imperial College_London’s team communication app & science communication guide and finished the collaboration. The collaboration with Imperial College_London was really inspiring and gave us valuable learnings.