“Completing my Nuffield Research Placement with the Warwick iGEM team reaffirm my decision to study a Biology-related degree at university. I have discovered Biology beyond the syllabus of my A-level studies, further helping me to prepare for my Year 13 exams. In addition, the lab work experiences I gained during the placement, for example completing gel electrophoresis and PCR, will assist my application to university. Working with the team has made me more aware of what university life is like; during my 5 weeks here I have learnt more about self-management and independence. I am now far more comfortable exploring biology on my own, having been encouraged to read research papers to gain greater background knowledge of the team project. This placement has given me a deeper understanding of what working in research is like; it is now something I hope to explore further.” – Gurpreet Dhaliwal, Nuffield Research Student.
On the 24th of September, the Warwick iGEM team collaborated with the teams from Cardiff University and the University of Sheffield to educate potential undergraduate students about the rising field of synthetic biology. We felt it was important to highlight the significance of iGEM with regards to the progression of understanding and innovation of biology as an engineering discipline. As part of this event, we explained our projects and designs in conjunction with presenting our posters, enabling us to develop our ability to effectively communicate scientific concepts to members of the public that had not necessarily previously been exposed to advanced science.
SynBio CDT PHD Cohort Brainstorm Session
On the 28th of September, members of the Warwick iGEM team aided in hosting a SynBio CDT PhD Cohort training session, where the objective was to brainstorm a problem that could be solved using synthetic biology – very similarly to how our iGEM project started. As part of this, we gave a presentation explaining the iGEM competition, elaborating on how to successfully brainstorm a project by approaching the problem with an engineering perspective, and more specifically - what our project entails, and our personal experiences.
After the presentation, the PhD students split into 3 teams, each with an iGEM member. In these teams, the students attempted to brainstorm a project that would be rewarded funding in a real life scenario, whilst trying to incorporate as many synthetic biology buzzwords into the project descriptions as possible. Competing in this fun afternoon of brainstorming provided us with an insight into how students with success in previous educational tasks approach problems, and the vast variety of impacts of advancements in synthetic biology – from generating living colour changing hair dye, to turning paper into beer, or growing self cutting grass.