We participated in the Eastern China iGEM Meetup held by JiangNan University online on July 11. As the first meetup held in China during the 2020 season, it attracted 24 teams and more than 200 members from all over the country. Six teams communicated and shared the projects, which not only provided good advice on every component of our projects but also changed our views on how many fields synthetic biology ideas can spread to and make a difference. Besides, we also got some pieces of valuable proposals and inspirations for human practices from Dorothy Zhang, the regional ambassador of Asia, and Hassnain, the human practices committee. Although we were unable to have the meetup on the ground because of the coronavirus pandemic, the online meetup of the eastern China region has achieved good results and provided a great example to the later communicating activities during this special period.
Professor Wu, the instructor of iGEM team from Cheng Kung University, was invited to have online communication with us on July 17th. After our presentation, Dr. Wu offered us some valuable suggestions and shared her unique experience of talent development, team building, and project design which gave constructive help to our program.
The suggestions given by Dr.Wu:
1. Single cost should be controlled within 150 RMB since gold nanoparticles are expensive.
2. The detection time should be as short as possible, and other methods can be considered to replace microfluidic, which takes a long time
3. You have to make E-Crisper work before it is convincing
Northeastern University team intends to express the protein ACE2, the receptor of spike (S) protein on SARS-CoV-2 (SARS-2) coronavirus from human tissue, on the membrane of E.coli. The signal transduction pathway activated by the binding of ACE2 and S protein will lead to the expression of gene pmrC which can be amplified as a signal by a cascade system. Hence, the presence of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus can be detected by the transgenic E.coli. Compared with the traditional methods that use nucleic acids as the detecting targets, protein detection is more convenient because of the stability of proteins. We advised them to use ECF as the primary amplification system, thus plasmid space can be saved. Based on our experience, we also reminded them to be cautious about the virulence of S protein.
Zhejiang University of technology team plans to get nucleic acids samples by means of thermal decomposition. Different samples will be added into a Sherlock system and be distinguished according to different lights emitted from the filter in the light detection system. They also intend to provide a virus location-tracking service by establishing crRNA database and designing specific screening mechanism for different people.
We also received useful suggestions from the other two teams about our project. After the meetup, we reached cooperation on human practice and established a firm friendship with other 2 teams. Survey information shared among us.
We participated in the CCIC held by Shenzhen Advanced Technology Research Institute online from August 28th to August 31st. More than 70 teams shared their ideas, experiences, and results. In the meeting，we did a presentation and exhibited our poster. We also had deep communication with teachers and other teams from which we learned a lot. After that, we received some suggestions from the judges, and we thought these suggestions would be very helpful to us in the following days.
Here are these suggestions:
1.AuNP can be substituted and other alternatives can be considered.
2.HP's survey results didn’t highlight the necessity of the project and reflect the help and significance of HP to the team, meaning that it was an invalid HP. Some new contents and forms of HP can be taken into account, such as the psychological impact of the epidemic progress on the population.
3.The whole project doesn't reflect synthetic biology, however, it's more of a chemical thing.
4.It is better to highlight the characteristics of "fast" and the combination with hardware. Modeling requires more quantification...
5.The abstract lacks an in-depth introduction to the principles section.
6. Hopefully, we can build our model to explain the final diagram, rather than using software or invoking a few lines of code.
7.There may be cross-contamination problems in the droplet movement.
8.There is no mature commercial version of the project technology but only many engineering and technical tricks.
This summer, ECUST has been communicating with a high school team, JACOXH_China. We offered them some suggestions on the operation of organic mercury, to avoid the safety issues of heavy metal mercury involved in the project. We recommend that JACOXH_China team come to our testing center to learn some professional operations. Besides, we helped the team modify the script of the promotion video, helping them to show the project promotion in the form of animation.