Here at the UCLA iGEM Team, we firmly believe that the basis of all progress is teamwork and collaboration. This year, we have formed a number of collaborations with not only local California teams, but teams across the world. We hope through our collaborations that our impact and influence on the iGEM and synthetic biology community worldwide will lead to great advancements and success in the field of science.

Second Annual Southern California iGEM Meetup

The UCLA iGEM Team was proud to host the Second Annual Southern California iGEM Meetup at UCLA on July 20, 2016. Team members and advisors from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), University of La Verne, Alverno High School, and the University of Marburg attended the meet-up at the Molecular Biology Institute at UCLA. Each team was able to discuss their ongoing projects and receive feedback and advice on aspects such as experimental design, while learning about what other teams in the iGEM community was working on with the potential to form new collaborations. We also discussed pertinent issues for all iGEM teams in terms of logistics, team organization, fundraising, and project design. Additionally, we discussed the current state of iGEM and synthetic biology as a rapidly emerging biotechnology field in the United States, especially in the context of developing scientific communications to combat rising negative publicity and misinformation toward the use and safety of genetically modified organisms. Through our meet up, we hope to spur not only a collaborative experience in local teams to work together in solving synthetic biology problems, but also a space where teams can discuss the maintenance and sustained success of an iGEM team. Through our meet-up, we hope to facilitate greater collaborations among Southern California teams as well as foster the general iGEM and synthetic biology community.

Collaboration with Brazil on Synthetic Silks

We were excited to see that another team was pursuing synthetic silks for the 2016 season! The UCLA iGEM Team competed with SilkyColi: Reprogramming the Physical and Functional Properties of Synthetic Silks in 2015. Members of the USP_UNIFESP-Brazil iGEM Team reached out to us over the summer for advice on their current project. We had a great time chatting with their team via Google Hangouts about the details of our previous project and discussing the various issues and problems we ran into, as well as how we overcame them. Their project sounds really awesome, and we're excited to see their presentation at this year's Jamboree!

Collaboration with UCSC iGEM on Human Practices

Members of the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) iGEM Team reached out to us over the summer asking if we would be able to help them with their Human Practices project by providing an interview with them. The project focused on the discussion of the recent movement in "Do-It-Yourself Synthetic Biology." We had a great time as a team discussing our thoughts and ideas about the movement; many of us were unfamiliar with it and it was awesome to be able to learn about it while helping another team with their project! We all love synthetic biology and are huge advocates for expanding the influence of synbio throughout our world and community. Our video interview can be viewed here.