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Trials and Tribulations of a First Year iGEM Team

What do you do when team members disappear, deadlines are flying by, and the Jamboree is only two days away? Newcastle University answered these questions when they formed an iGEM team for the first time in 2008. The team was composed of six students, three instructors and many advisors, all from different backgrounds and with differing motivations in joining the team. Everyone was excited about our project, but a summer of hard work only produced a proof of concept. In this presentation, I will discuss the lessons we learned and how we managed to pull everything together in the end to win a Gold medal at the Jamboree.

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Trials and Tribulations of a First Year iGEM Team

  1. 1. Trials and Tribulations of a First Year iGEM Team Morgan Taschuk Newcastle University
  2. 2. Outline <ul><li>Team composition
  3. 3. Ambitious project
  4. 4. Potholes
  5. 5. The Jamboree
  6. 6. Happy Ending
  7. 7. Questions </li></ul>
  8. 8. The Team Advisors Instructors Students
  9. 9. The Team <ul><li>Four students in Bioinformatics Masters program </li><ul><li>Require major aspects of project to be computational </li></ul><li>Two biologists
  10. 10. And me
  11. 11. Wanted to shoot big! </li></ul>
  12. 12. Circle of (Synthetic) Life Feedback Implementation Computational Modelling Bioinformatics Tools Sequence Synthesize Clone Analyze
  13. 13. Circle of (Synthetic) Life <ul><li>MRSA diagnostic </li><ul><li>Difficult to detect
  14. 14. Not “sexy”
  15. 15. No computational aspect </li></ul><li>Gram positive diagnostic </li></ul>Feedback Implementation Computational Modelling Bioinformatics Tools Sequence Synthesize Clone Analyze
  16. 16. Sensing Bacteria <ul><li>Quorum sensing: </li><ul><li>Gram positive bacteria secrete ‘fingerprints’ of signal peptides
  17. 17. Cell-cell communication </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Sensing Bacteria <ul><li>Use quorum sensing in B. subtilis to detect multiple Gram positive bacteria </li></ul>
  19. 19. Sensing Bacteria <ul><li>Use quorum sensing in B. subtilis to detect multiple Gram positive bacteria </li></ul>
  20. 20. Sensing Bacteria ? ? <ul><li>Use quorum sensing in B. subtilis to detect multiple Gram positive bacteria
  21. 21. Need to discriminate between fingerprints </li></ul>
  22. 22. Sensing Bacteria <ul><li>Use quorum sensing in B. subtilis to detect multiple Gram positive bacteria
  23. 23. Need to discriminate between fingerprints
  24. 24. Limited outputs </li></ul>
  25. 25. In Vitro Neural Nets <ul><li>Sexy! </li><ul><li>Bacteria performing computational tasks </li></ul><li>Computational </li><ul><li>Evolutionary algorithms </li></ul><li>Plenty of potential </li></ul>
  26. 26. Where do we start??
  27. 27. Good Advice <ul><li>This time, last year: </li><ul><li>No computational tools ready
  28. 28. Wet lab booked from 4 August
  29. 29. No DNA designed </li></ul><li>Modularise the tasks into discrete, achieveable chunks
  30. 30. Designed a BioBrick by hand
  31. 31. Synthesized it </li><ul><li>Six weeks! Shipped on 5 August </li></ul></ul>
  32. 32. Bad timing May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Apr
  33. 33. Bad timing May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Apr Team
  34. 34. Bad timing May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Apr Team
  35. 35. Bad timing May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Apr Team
  36. 36. Bad timing May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Apr Team Tasks
  37. 37. Bad timing May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Apr Team Tasks
  38. 38. Bad timing May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Apr Team Tasks
  39. 39. Bad timing May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Apr Team Tasks
  40. 40. Tally <ul><li>Date: 22 September 2008
  41. 41. Number of remaining students: 1
  42. 42. Unfinished tasks </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wiki
  43. 43. T-Shirts
  44. 44. Presentation
  45. 45. DNA submission
  46. 46. Only just about everything we're judged on! </li></ul></ul>
  47. 47. Wiki <ul><li>Hard work </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Internal wiki transferred
  48. 48. Ripped several theses apart
  49. 49. Organised lab journals </li></ul></ul>
  50. 50. T-Shirts David Appleyard and iGEM
  51. 51. Part Characterisation <ul><li>One day per part
  52. 52. Not all parts need to have DNA, or even work! </li></ul>
  53. 53. Poster <ul><li>Finished: 4 November </li></ul>
  54. 54. Presentation <ul><li>...........
  55. 55. Practiced with the first version on 4 November </li></ul>
  56. 56. Finally on the way <ul><li>7 November, 4:30am
  57. 57. Seven hour layover in Amsterdam
  58. 58. Revised the talk (again) </li></ul>
  59. 59. Stata Center
  60. 60. Jamboree, Day One
  61. 61. Lots going on David Appleyard and iGEM
  62. 62. People Watching
  63. 63. David Appleyard and iGEM
  64. 66. ?
  65. 71. Lunch <ul><li>Still revising our presentation </li></ul>
  66. 72. The Talk <ul><li>No real questions at the end </li></ul>David Appleyard and iGEM David Appleyard and iGEM
  67. 73. Poster Session David Appleyard and iGEM Don’t let this happen to you!
  68. 74. Afters David Appleyard and iGEM
  69. 75. Jamboree Day 2 Awards <ul><li>Finalists: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>NYMU-Taipei
  70. 76. Caltech
  71. 77. Slovenia
  72. 78. Freiburg
  73. 79. Harvard
  74. 80. UC Berkeley </li></ul></ul>
  75. 81. Awards David Appleyard and iGEM
  76. 82. iGEM from Overhead David Appleyard and iGEM Us!
  77. 83. Melee onstage David Appleyard and iGEM
  78. 84. Melee David Appleyard and iGEM
  79. 85. Awards
  80. 86. Like any long-term project <ul><li>Be very clear about commitments from the outset
  81. 87. Communication!
  82. 88. Have a contingency plan
  83. 89. You have less time than you think you have </li></ul>
  84. 90. iGEM Specifically <ul><li>Break your project into small, distinct pieces
  85. 91. Be ambitious with your goals, but realistic with your claims </li><ul><li>You probably have not invented the cure for cancer </li></ul><li>Do not leave all of the documentation until the end </li><ul><li>Judging happens here! </li></ul><li>Be creative
  86. 92. Bio brick away! </li></ul>
  87. 93. Thank you and good luck!

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  • wqs226

    Jun. 21, 2015
  • Hima77

    Jun. 24, 2019

What do you do when team members disappear, deadlines are flying by, and the Jamboree is only two days away? Newcastle University answered these questions when they formed an iGEM team for the first time in 2008. The team was composed of six students, three instructors and many advisors, all from different backgrounds and with differing motivations in joining the team. Everyone was excited about our project, but a summer of hard work only produced a proof of concept. In this presentation, I will discuss the lessons we learned and how we managed to pull everything together in the end to win a Gold medal at the Jamboree.

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