Arizona State University
The ASU team generously offered to sequence our constructs in their lab. In sending them our constructs, we also helped them to test their measurement and identification system. Their sequencing of our CLD+ gene showed us that there was a mutation that caused it to be ineffective. They also sequenced our functional CLD- gene and confirmed that it did indeed produce chlorite dismutase.
As a component of community outreach, we went to St. Elizabeth Seton Junior High School with the Ingenuity Lab team to give a joint presentation about IGEM and synthetic biology. They also helped us conduct the strawberry DNA extraction experiments and team building exercises for the students. It was a great experience collaborating with their team and introducing the students to concepts from both of our projects. For more information, read our community outreach section.
We had the pleasure of being interviewed by the EPFL iGEM team in Switzerland via a Skype call. This was a chance to get to know global IGEM teams before the jamboree. Check it out here if you want to learn more about our project and our team!
We participated in the XMU China team's yearly newsletter, which featured IGEM teams from all over the world in the areas of project overview, human practices, and collaboration. It was something that gave us the opportunity to get in touch with other teams who were looking for collaboration, and to learn more about other teams before the Giant Jamboree.
Prior to the Giant Jamboree, we went down to the University of Calgary for the regional Alberta Genetic Engineering Machine Competition. We exchanged ideas and received some very valuable feedback with other collegiate and high school iGEM teams. Structured very similarly to the Jamboree, aGEM included presentations, prizes, and a panel of judges who all had experience judging teams at the Giant Jamboree. We achieved 2nd place among high school teams, with a $1000 dollar travel package, as well as “Most Initiative” and “Greatest Scientific Rigour” special awards. We even had the opportunity to sit one-on-one with each of the judges to discuss the details of project and ways to improve going into the Jamboree. We even made some new friends in the OLS_Canmore iGEM team, who will be presenting right after us at the Giant Jamboree!
University of Calgary
The University of Calgary team got us in contact with Robert Thirsk, former CSA astronaut. While interviewing him, they passed along our most pressing question regarding human practices. This provided us with a new perspective of the impacts of space development and where our project can fit into that. They were also the host school for AGEM, and we are very thankful to them for being awesome hosts!