CU at the World iGEM Jamboree
by Leighla Tayefeh
Just a few weeks ago, we boarded a plane destined for Boston and the 2014 World iGEM Jamboree. Once we arrived, we were racing to the hotel to put some finishing touches onto our power point presentation. Our team was selected as one of the first teams to present at 9am Friday morning. This meant our presentation needed to be perfected in just a few short hours. Members of the team sat in the hotel lobby practicing and correcting the presentation. We finally decided to call it a night at 4am. After three hours of sleep, we grabbed some coffee and headed to our presentation. Even with the lack of sleep and butterflies in our stomachs, the presentation was great and most exciting of all, it was over!
As much as I would have liked to have our day come to an end, it was not over yet. We still had a poster session ahead of us. During the day we got to see several other teams present, and felt the stakes increased. The other teams had costumes, candy, flyers, and stickers. Although we didn’t come with fancy eye-catchers, we still drew a wide audience. Here we realized we were not the only ones working with Crispr-Cas9. Several other teams took a similar approach to utilizing this gene editing technology. At each poster session, our team was able to talk and connect with teams from around the world.
We spent the rest of the weekend watching presentations by our peers. Our team was able to see Calgary present on a diagnostic tool that’s a novel, nucleic acid-based, rapid point-of-care device capable of diagnosing multiple infectious diseases in parallel. Then we watched the undergraduate grand prize winners from Heidelberg. Their team designed a universal toolbox for modifying proteins post-translationally. This toolbox can specifically change whole amino-acid sequences; therefore regulating proteins via assembly or protein cleavage. This enables circularization of enzymes rendering them thermodynamically stable and resistant to exoproteases. However, the team that stood out the most was Sumbawagen, who took home the Chairman’s award. Despite have rolling power outages and not even a proper lab space, they managed to create a novel circuit to measure the concentration of glucose in honey by calibrating the color of E. coli medium using an android-based mobile phone. This blew our team members away, how amazing. To see more from this team and our other peers go to http://2014.igem.org/Main_Page.
Competition this year was fierce, and unfortunately we did not take home a trophy, but it was not a total loss. We won a Silver medal for our achievements and an interlab study designation. I couldn’t be more proud of our team. We all worked so hard to come to Boston and it was an experience none of us will forget.
We’ll see you next year, Boston.