The Macquarie Australia team is far from your typical iGEM team. Our team consists of a total of 33 undergraduate students who are required to involve themselves with the iGEM competition in order to complete a Biomolecular Sciences major. This allows the students to experience the hands-on approach to the whole scientific process; from funding, to wet lab, to documentation and reporting. Macquarie is one of the few teams to continue the work of previous years by building on the achievements of past teams.
Our semester kicked off to a late start on the 1st of August, 2016. Not only was this the first time our team had officially met but it was also the first time that most of our team had ever heard of the iGEM competition. All students that participate in Team Macquarie have the opportunity to choose the extent to which they would like to be involved with the team. This fact, along with the short time we have known each other, makes communication and collaboration a constant but rewarding challenge.
The way we participate in this unit, means our team itself is essentially a form of outreach and engagement because it is not only educating students about iGEM but pushes students to actually participate in the competition. Alumni from our past iGEM Macquarie Australia teams actively participate, having experienced it themselves the years before. Some of these students have moved on to post graduate studies in the department, such as our advisor Edward Moh (2011 Macquarie Australia team) who had been instructing our iGEM teams since 2012, during his PhD candidature. To further continue this legacy, we have started educating second year students who are enrolled in biomolecular science units. If these students decide to complete a major in biomolecular sciences, they will already have a basic knowledge of synthetic biology and the iGEM experience.