Introduction to iGEM by instructor Dr. Steven Hussey
Team member roles were discussed
We looked at previous successful iGEM projects
Vaughn presented slides on photo-bioelectrochemical cells as the basis of a potential 2016 iGEM project
A general discussion and brainstorming session followed the presentation
Dr Hussey would be contacting individual students to ascertain their interest in being a 2016 team member, before the final selection will take place
We looked at three iGEM teams with photosynthesis-related projects. These are iGEM McGuire, iGEM Brown-Stanford and iGEM Harvard
Discussion on bioelectrical and photoelectochemical cell prototypes
Suggestion of designing aptamers to identify a conserved protein on chloroplasts. Aptamers also designed to be attracted to graphene.
Presented at Sappi head office, Braamfontein, Johannesberg to request funding for 2016
Presentation to Department of Science and Technology for funding (10 March).
Discussions with Prof. Manyala and his students at the Carbon Technology and Materials Research Group, University of Pretoria (14 April) about manufacturing graphene electrodes. It was during these discussions that we decided to use graphene foam formed on nickel as the basis for our electrodes.
Discussed target proteins on thylakoid membrane CP43, CP47, D1 and D2 for which aptamers can be designed
Decided to use MAWS software (Heidelberg iGEM team, 2015) to design aptamers
Decided on using laccases as the reducing enzyme to recycle water at the cathode
Reflected on our team hoodie designs!
Had Project proposal on 20 May
Met with Katie Barnhill, a postgraduate social scientist at North Carolina State University and who was visiting the University of Pretoria, for advice on how to communicate our project to a lay audience
Tried using MAWS software (Heidelberg iGEM team, 2015) to design aptamers by replicating their experiments
We met with Dr. Michal Gwizdala, Department of Physics, about physico-chemical considerations influencing the choice of target proteins for our aptamer in Photosystem II crystal structures
Simon gave an extensive presentation on the engineering side of the project and highlighted some issues, including cell size, selectively permeable membrane, and making use of magnets.
Pretoria_UP after their project defense to the Department of Genetics (20 May).
We compiled a survey for PBEC experts toward our Integrated Human Practices portfolio. The Survey was hosted on Surveymonkey and sent out to 14 experts in the PBEC field that we identified from the literature. Unfortunately we got only one reply!
Heidelberg 2015 iGEM team predicted one DNA aptamer against PSII. We synthesized this candidate along with a random oligo control for assessment of its ability to bind to PSII.
FMG/iGEM photoshoot with EyeScape photographers
We filmed our project description video
Due dates for iGEM: project description, about our lab and about our project forms submitted
Read more on our team composition on our Team page.
Brad mastered the art of thylakoid extractions
We received offers to collaborate with Ain_Shams-Egypt, Aix-Marseille, Groningen
Initiated our SELEX experiments to develop a graphene-binding aptamer, starting with determining the washing buffer stringency
Designed binding test for candidate aptamers designed using MAWS
Started adding content to our Wiki
Interview with Dr Karen Surridge-Talbot
Identified and synthesised Eucalyptus grandis laccases with IDT
iGEM due dates: track selection, title and abstract, Giant jamboree registration