The WashU iGEM undergraduates were responsible for almost every aspect of the iGEM project, from project development to wiki design, performing and scheduling experiments, and preparing the presentation. Specific roles include:
Cam Phelan: Financial Coordinator, Wet Lab
Elizabeth Johnson: Human Practices Lead, Project Design, Wet Lab and Cloning Lead
Havisha Pedamallu: Wiki Master, Project Design, Wet Lab
Kyle Nicholson: Device and Hardware Lead, Human Practices and Education, Modeling Maestro
Dr. Janie Brennan, our main advisor, put the team together and handled our registration this year. When we first started, she guided us through the process of brainstorming and developing our project and reviewed basic lab procedures with us. She also reviewed basic synthetic biology concepts needed for our project design. Dr. Brennan met with us biweekly to provide advice ordering our parts, designing our experiments, and aligning with our timeline and deadlines. In addition, she provided coaching on drafting our posters and presentations throughout the year.
Jeff Czajka, our grad mentor, oversaw our work in the lab and taught us how to prepare LB media, LB agar, and antibiotic plates. He guided us through basic protocols and safety training at the beginning of the summer, and provided us with other necessary protocols and advice with working with yeast. As we performed the Interlab study, Jeff also taught us how to operate the Tecan Infinite M200 Pro plate reader.
Dr. Yinjie Tang provided us with lab space, resources, and equipment.
Alex Yenkin, Collin Kilgore, Maddie Lee, Mark Wang, Micah Rickles-Young, Zoe Orenstein from the 2017 WashU iGEM team gave us advice on developing our project and planning out our work for the summer.
Garrett Roell, a graduate student in the Tang Lab, answered questions with regards to protocols and procuring materials.
Chelly Hresko, Fred Moshiri, and Larry Gilbertson from Monsanto met with our team to assess our technical components and provided valuable advice for the direction of our project
The 2017 iGEM Team, BYU Weber Lab, and Manitoba Gietz Lab provided us with protocols used throughout our experiments.
Megan Flake, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Laboratory Safety and Protocols Manager, and Susan Cook, Director of the Office of Biological Safety, helped us determine which organisms could be safely used in the lab and our project.
Dr. Glen Hartman provided advice regarding the capture of airborne spores.
Maddie Lee, the financial coordinator from the 2017 WashU iGEM team, provided advice and contacts for fundraising and budgeting for the year.
Venkat Papolu, from St. Louis Indoor Produce, introduced us to funding opportunities and grants.
Dr. Joe Jez provided contacts from many local biotechnology companies our team reached out to.
Mark Wang, the wiki lead from the 2017 WashU team, provided advice and resources for learning HTML and coding for the wiki. We derived some of the code for for the lab notebook section of the wiki from Mark’s work as well as Zach Glick's work for the 2016 WashU team. As a result, the style of our wiki's lab notebook is similar to that of the 2017 and 2016 team.
Our homepage was inspired by the 2013 Paris Bettencourt team.
The header was derived from the 2017 Heidelberg team’s wiki.
The medal fulfillment page was founded on the 2015 Marburg team.
Arushee Agrawal provided advice on formatting our wiki and help learning basic code.
Professor Patricia Widder and Dr. James Feher P.E. provided resources and guidance for the hardware component of our project.
Bryan Roberts and Thomas Abraham from Microsoft met with us periodically to assist with the technological components of our hardware and softwares that could be used for modelling.
Micah Rickles-Young and Zoe Orenstein provided advice and insights from their experience on hardware design and coordination.
Dr. Brennan loaned us a Raspberry Pi for use in our device.
Marcus Twyford provided us with an SD card and SD arduino shield.
Partha Ramaseshari was instrumental in putting our team in contact with his colleagues at Monsanto through multiple in person meetings and organizing a tour of the facility.
John Pitkin and Jeffrey Stein from Monsanto gave us valuable information regarding the direction of our human practices work.
Adekunle Onadipe gave us a tour around Pfizer, showing us around their labs and synthetic biology processes.
David Webb, Kirk Johnson, Carol Johnson, Dr. Brennan, and Larry Gilbertson all assisted in providing and gathering contacts our team reached out for human practices questions and collaborations.
Janat Mutesi, George Bunyinza, Robert Waibe, Deborah, Prossy, Ibrahim, Lydia, Fatina, Fatuma, Enoch, Mukoda, and many other Ugandan farmers were all incredibly welcoming and willing to take time out of their day to provide advice and answer questions regarding the direction of our project.
Dr. Shanti Parikh, a professor and mentor at WashU, provided connections and advice for our team’s travel to and work in Uganda.
Professor Mitiku Gebrehiwot and Philemon Equar showed Kyle around Mekelle and helped our team establish connections with agricultural researchers and professors.
Professor Abraha Berhe, from Mekelle University, provided papers and detailed information regarding their research on the impact of rust and other diseases on Ethiopian crops.
Kara Todd and Robin and Kevin Shepard accompanied Kyle to Mekelle, Ethiopia and provided resources and support when needed.
Nick Murira and Marissa Rasgado accompanied Kyle to Uganda and provided resources and support when needed.
Mayor Balaba of Iganga showed Kyle around the city, connected our team to various organizations, and provided information regarding agriculture in the area.
Mr. Sefatia Kyirongero welcomed Kyle into his home and family while providing much expertise on the significance of rust and the evolution of agricultural techniques.
Dr. Philip Bayly and Assistant Dean Chris Ramsay provided support and funding for travel to Uganda.
Princess Ruth Nakaima provided invaluable connections to local officials, a local NGO, and farmers in Uganda.
Tree Life, Musana, UDHA, and CultivAid showed Kyle the work the work they were doing and introduced farmers that our team connected with.
We began to brainstorm ideas for our project on March 7th, 2018 and the idea for our project was introduced to us by Elizabeth who conducted research on genomeweb.com. We decided on our project focus and began working on the project on April 11th.
We had lab safety and technique training on April 20th and 21st, and began doing lab work on June 18th, 2018.
Washington University in St. Louis does not offer a formal synthetic biology course, but all of our team members have taken the General Chemistry sequence, and some have taken Introduction to Biology and Organic Chemistry.