The Importance of Collaboration
The iGEM competition stresses the importance of collaborations between scientists and encourages teams to significantly collaborate with one or more iGEM teams. Collaboration is an important component of scientific research, as it teaches will-be scientists to exchange ideas and assist others in their innovations. Our team has collaborated with several iGEM teams as well as a team of undergraduate researchers outside of the iGEM Competition.
University of Minnesota (UM) iGEM Team
Our collaboration with the University of Minnesota (UM) iGEM team began with a Skype call. During the meeting, we discussed our project designs. Because of our extensive human practices efforts, we felt that we could best collaborate by providing information about extending their outreach. After attending the BMES Coulter Conference in August, our teammates visited the UM iGEM team lab in Minnesota. We advised their team to reach out to areas affected by their project (mercury ion pollution) and to speak with environmental regulatory groups in Minnesota to gain insight about potential users. We also suggested they start a crowdfunding campaign so their entire team can attend the Jamboree in Boston, since they had not considered that to be an option.
iGEM Team in Montpellier, France
We heard about the Montpellier iGEM team through the iGEM Troubleshooting & Collaborations Facebook page created by iGEM Thessaloniki. Their project, Vagineering, aims to create a non-hormonal contraceptive. Our projects both address inadequate access to contraception, so we were interested in collaborating with them. We Skyped with their team and discussed our designs, human practices, and progress in lab. We suggested that the Montpellier team consider dosage of their final product, since it would be inserted into the human body, ways to switch off production of the contraceptive, or a delivery method.
The TecCEM iGEM team approached our team with an interesting proposal; their team wanted to create a fun iGEM-themed music video showcasing iGEM teams from around the world. They requested we take a brief video of our team dancing to the Maroon 5 song "Moves like Jagger" that they would turn into a fun parody called "Moves like iGEM". This collaboration was brief, but we had fun coordinating with other iGEM teams worldwide for a fun side-project.
The ULaval iGEM team is working with S. cerevisiae to create adrenaline, noradrenaline, and dopamine. They contacted us to discuss product isolation and quantification since we are also working with yeast. We shared information and discussed extraction protocols. Our team suggested they use a riboswitch to detect final products within their cell cultures, but they were unable to find one that worked for their products. Their team suggested we find an HPLC column and machine for our initial in-lab quantification and explained how we could find a less expensive way to use HPLC.
The iGEM team from Bielefeld asked our team to participate in their outreach research by completing an online survey about Dual Use and Dual Use Research of Concern.