Last August (18, 19 and 20), the three Spanish iGEM groups met in the city of Valencia. The purpose of the meeting was to know better the rest of the projects and the members from the other teams. In this event, we did not only get to know the projects, but we also were able to appreciate the great work that the groups were doing.
The initiative came from iGEM group of Valencia, who contacted us and the iGEM team from Barcelona. We were chatting for a few weeks until we agreed on a date for the meeting, which was not hard.
On August 19 (Friday), the 3 groups presented their projects in the student residence Galileo Galilei. The first group was Valencia UPV with their project “Hack Your Plants Editing”.They were pplaying at home, so it made the rest of the groups feel more confident.
Each part of the project was explained by a different member. It was a very entertaining and surprising exhibition. It was very interesting to know the use of biomechanics and biomedicine to create transgenic plants using a novel and much more efficient technique .
Our group was the second one to present the project. We talked about our project, and also explained the techniques we make use of to fulfil our goals. We presented our project "Biofilms Transformer" They were very interested and gave us their opinions. It was very rewarding for us. Each of us explained their own work, except for our friend José who could not come. We finished the exhibition with a Spot of Human Practices.
Finally, it was the turn of UPF-CRG Barcelona. They were a little embarrassed to present their project because they thought it was not as good as the others. When they began to tell about their idea everyone agreed it was a great project. They made a really fun show and we had a great time listening to their progress and difficulties on the creation of a probiotic to act as a preventive treatment for cancer. The other groups gave them some ideas to help them improve their techniques.
Once the presentations had finished, all group members met together and talked about what we thought about the other projects and how we could help each other. We had some very constructive talks for our projects and ourselves.
After the presentations, all members of the group went out to have dinner together. We took advantage of this opportunity to better know all groups and mostly to have fun. We even changed our seat in order to be next to different people and get know all of them better.
It was a fun night and we enjoyed with friends, even if we are different teams!.
On Saturday, Valencia UPV Team had a surprise. As we didn’t know the city, our friends from Valencia were our guides and told us a lot of interesting historical information and some ancient legends of Valencia (such as the bat logo of the city).
Another surprise was a picnic that the team from Valencia had prepared for all of us. It was a very nice surprise and the food was really tasty. That evening we enjoyed together playing different games and recording funny videos.
Last day was for farewells. Nobody wanted to go home.
We took advantage to enjoy the beauty of Valencia until the last moments, through the City of Arts and Sciences and the Malvarrosa beach with some friends from Valencia. Sadly, we had to say goodbye at the train station.
The 3 groups (UPO-Sevilla, UPF-CRG Barcelona and Valencia UPV) discussed constructively on different projects and applications and contributions to science. It was a wonderful way to collaborate and help each other. All projects were applauded and congratulated by the others. We felt really delighted and integrated when interacting with the different disciplines that make up a team, from biotechnologists and biomedical scientists or computer engineers, to a journalist.
Thanks to this meeting of different teams, we all made good friends and we are now a great family where everyone helps each other.
XI MEETING OF MOLECULAR MICROBIOLOGY
The Eleventh Meeting of the Molecular Microbiology Group of the SEM (Sociedad Española de Microbiologia) in Sevilla, took place during the days 6th, 7th and 8th of September 2016. The scientific sessions took place in the hotel Silken Al-Andalus Palace.
This event organized by the group of Molecular Microbiology of the Spanish Society for Microbiology (SEM), has a totally educational and academic purpose. Several experts from the molecular microbiology sector participate in these meetings, making presentations on their work to help young researchers.
This time the XI meeting was this time with Francis J.M. Mojica (University of Alicante), who gave the inaugural lecture entitled "The growth curve CRISPR".
Molecular Microbiology group is one of eleven specialized groups of the Spanish Society for Microbiology (SEM), founded in 1946. The group began operating with a first meeting held in Pamplona in 1996. Since then, meetings have been held every two years. The tradition was started in 1996 and continued with great success at subsequent meetings of the Group. In these meetings, we combine the high scientific level of the Spanish Microbiology Society with an atmosphere of harmony and cordiality. They also give prominence to our young researchers, which are considered as an important and promising group.
In this congress there were poster sessions in which we had the opportunity to explain our project to people who had already worked with biofilms and had experience in that area. Everyone liked the project and we were really thankful because of the praises we got in spite of being so young. In addition, we informed PhD students and other researchers about the iGEM competition. Until that time it was unknown to them, but now they are interested on our performance in the competition.
As part of our meeting the IV Research Award BIOMEDAL a relevant research work in the field of Molecular Microbiology, as well as prizes for the best communications delivered. During the event presentations from experts they were divided into the following sessions:
- Session I: Microbial Biotechnology
- Session II: Gene Regulation
- Session III: Microbial Differentiation
- Session IV: Antimicrobial Agents and Resistance
- Session V: Comparative Genomics and Evolution
- Session VI: ADN Mobile
- Session VII: Pathogenesis
It was a unique experience that allowed us to discuss our project and the way we conducted experiments with people experienced in the field.
EUROPEAN RESEARCHERS’ NIGHT
The European Researchers' Night is a European science project promoted by the European Commission within the Marie Curie Sktodowska the Horizon 2020 program, which takes place simultaneously in over 250 European cities since 2005.
For the fifth consecutive year, it was held in order to enhance the human side of research through direct contact and conversation with experts. On 30th th September, it was held on 7 Andalusian capitals and Jerez (Cadiz).
The last year’s edition had the participation of 250 cities in 32 European countries with the aim of bringing science and researchers to the general public, proving that science and research can be fun and that it also related to everyday life, and promoting science communication among young people.
The commitment of researchers is key for the success of the activity, which records an increasing number of scientists and scientists participating in the event each year. Specifically, the activity brought together more than 1,200 researchers to show their work to the public in the 2016 edition.
We set up our stand next to the cathedral in the center of Seville, which is a really beautiful place. Much more people than what we actually expected stopped to get to know our project. It was a great surprise and we felt very thankful.
Our stand attracted the attention of really different kinds of people. Apart from students, we were glad to explain our project to tourists, teachers and professors from different fields, parents, children and curious walkers.
Although we belong to the Universidad Pablo de Olavide, this time we could have our own space due to the magnitude and recognition of our project. Our university conducted a workshop on legumes entitled "Legumes, much more than a food" located in Plaza Nueva, next to the City Hall in Seville.
We took advantage of the occasion by distributing brochures with information about iGEM, about synthetic biology and about our project in an attempt to bring it closer to people who have no idea about this field.
For us, the influence of people and their interest in new scientific projects is a huge breakthrough. We were able to see how good science is appreciated, and therefore we were proud to be a part of it. Thanks to this event we have been encouraged to continue our idea with more enthusiasm.