INSTAGRAM QUARANTINE PROJECT
For our collaboration, we worked with the Korea_HS team. Korea_HS team’s project aims to address antigen’s limitations of only binding to cell surface proteins. Since antigens are therapeutic agents, they engineered an antibody to recognize human RAS protein so that the host range can be expanded. By doing this, antibodies can now work inside the cell and have expanded the host range of diseases and target molecules that can be treated with antibodies.
As a fellow high school team, we wanted to support other high schoolers as rising juniors and seniors who want to pursue college-level projects. We understand the high expectations as this is a college-level competition, so we wanted to choose a team we could really relate to.
After we saw this team’s Instagram Quarantine collaboration project, we thought it was a good idea to connect and support them. Their project especially relates to the global pandemic going on, since it allows teams to connect to one another. By supporting their project, this would help teams learn more about each other and decide which teams they might want to collaborate with.
We sent them our project description and team photo to be featured on their Instagram page, @koreahs2020. This way, iGEM teams all over the world can reach out to each other and learn about new ideas and projects that can positively influence their own.
TEAM LAMBERT GA
AQUAPONICS RECIPES NEEDED
Additionally, we collaborated with team Lambert GA. For their project, Lambert GA seeks to address the problem of food insecurity by using aquaponics. Since the implementation of aquaponics is often expensive, Lambert GA uses biosensors, hardware components, and software to analyze nutrient levels in aquaponics systems. This technology will allow local systems to make sure that they are receiving sufficient nutrients in their meals.
One aspect of their project involves dishes that involve foods grown in an aquaponics system. As hydroponics practices, they grew many types of vegetables and fruits, therefore they asked for our team to create a dish that features one of the foods grown in an aquaponics system.
Since we are a team from Thailand, our dishes include a variety of foods from the aquaponics system. We decided to cooperate with them, using basil as our main ingredient because it is a prominent vegetable from Thailand.
Our recipe is a local Thai dish called Spaghetti Pad Kee Mao with Basil and Shrimp. We sent high quality pictures of our completed dish to them and taught them in detail how to make the dish. Through this collaboration, we were able to learn more about their very unique project as well as get an opportunity to help their project. By providing a unique dish from Thailand, they would have an additional aquaponics dish that both has healthy nutrients as well as tastes delicious!
ZOOM VIRTUAL MEET-UP
Finally, we collaborated with the Edinburgh Team. With this team, we hosted a virtual meet-up where we talked about each other’s projects. We explained our project idea to treat tonsillitis using phage therapy, since the bacteria may become antibiotic resistant. We also explained both the computational and wet lab portion of our project, in which they gave valuable insights.
For instance, they told us of how we should make sure to test the phage in the lab (for instance, on a petri dish) first, since phages could be specific to only certain strains of bacteria. Furthermore, we must be mindful of the numerous safety considerations and regulations if we want to create a drug for the public to use that involves bacteriophages. They also checked with us that the phage library process did not create any potential interactions between the phage itself that would disturb the biopanning process. Lastly, they told us to confirm that phage therapy would not cause the bacteria it is targeting to become resistant to phage therapy as well, in which we decided to read further on the topic; in the end, we confirmed that phage therapy is effective against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
They also described their project to us: Finding NEMO. Their project is about creating a biosensor platform that identifies different targets in a way that is easy and efficient. They told us of their goal of allowing others to use the platform and simply adapt it to suit their target and purpose without having to build a biosensor specifically for that target. We think that this is a great idea! In fact, upon asking them for more details, we found out that they already tested the platform on many chemicals, in which the results were in their favor.
Although our project ideas are different, both our teams gained additional knowledge to expand our understanding of synthetic biology and their applications in the real world. Overall we had a fun talk with the Edinburgh team and are happy that we can have global connections in this community!