TO THE NEXT GENERATION
To introduce the synthetic biological methods to reduce antibiotic residues to more people, especially students interested in biology, we came to deliver a speech to high school students on the topic of antibiotic and synthetic biology.
In the speech, three of our team members talked about the concept of synthetic biology and the iGEM competition. Also, we focused on our own project, especially the exposure to varied antibiotics, which is really a health hazard to everyone. (Fig. 2)
After the speech, the students showed great interests in the competition and asked several questions like the ideas about synthetic biology as far as they were concerned and other ways to reduce antibiotic residues in the environment. Delightedly, we discussed some related topics on synthetic biology such as biological safety. Meanwhile, we’d got a lot of ideas from the audience. This presentation introduced synthetic biology to the next generation and raised their interests.
During a wonderful meeting held at PKU, we met iGEMers from Peking University, Tianjin University, and Beijing Institute of Technology. First, each team took 10-15 minutes to introduce their project design (Fig. 3). Interestingly, the team BIT was also working on a TA module-based kill switch. They have focused on a toxin from MazF family, while we tested varies putative toxins from a database provided by our Instructor. Having found the similarity in our projects, we discussed how to characterize the toxicity of a toxin protein, as well as protocols for measuring the growth curve of bacteria.
Next, we discussed problems and obstacles we had during the experiments. Sometimes talking with others can really help us with solving upsetting problems in the lab.
We also got suggestions from PKU on how to measure the growth curve. Initially, after shaking for 12 hours, we dilute liquid culture for 1000 times. IPTG is added subsequently to induce the expression of the toxin. However, some members from PKU suggested that we induce toxin expression when the value of OD600 is approximate to 0.5. By doing so, we would be able to see whether the toxin really kills the bacteria or only represses its growth. This suggestion is so helpful that it makes our result more convincing and reliable.