This year was the first time ever a Portuguese team participated in iGEM and, we cannot lie, we were a bit bummed out for not experiencing iGEM at its fullest due to this terrible pandemic situation... no gatherings, no meetings-up, no ‘live’ Jamboree. Nevertheless, we didn’t give up (after all, we named ourselves as fighters!) and we wanted to take as much as possible from this once in a lifetime experience as undergraduate students, the very first ones from Portugal, ever living this! We believe the iGEM spirit is all about collaborating and sharing, sharing knowledge, experiences, lessons, tips, fears, laughs,... So, we tried to collaborate and interact as much as possible with other teams either to learn from their projects and past experiences, or to contribute with our knowledge in their projects despite being rookies. Below, there are some of the contributions accomplished during iGEM 2020 by our team:
- Groningen: we collaborated with the Groningen team in the “Soil Biodiversity” Webinar presented at the iGEM Global Meet-Up. This presentation allowed us to meet the Groningen team and to discuss and get advice on both of our projects.
- Ionis and Paris Saclay: we participated in the Paris Global Meetup, where we presented a pitch of our project and answered the questions of the other iGEM teams present. Our team won first place on the Sunday pitch session. This session not only allowed us training for future presentations, but it also allowed us to get feedback from other teams and identify some flaws in our idea.
- UPF_Barcelona: we organized an Iberian meeting with the only Spanish team competing this year, UPF_Barcelona, to present and discuss several components of both our projects: Human Practices, Dry Lab, Wet Lab and Communication. The main goal was to share tips and skills in the different working groups. Although the dry lab component was different between teams, it was interesting to discuss the details of both projects. Our team helped the Spanish team with their wet lab part and they helped us back with communication and human practices.
- IISER Berhampur: members of the team answered the survey about dengue fever carried out by the IISER Berhampur. By taking this survey, our team learned new information about dengue fever.
- UPCH Peru: To highlight the importance of science in society, the iGEM team UPCH Peru invited us to share our team's idea and the SDG goals that our project fits for their #NoScienceNoFuture campaign. This collaboration helped us to develop our Sustainability wiki page.
- Athens: The Athens team came up with the idea to make a booklet about their project and asked the Groningen team to translate it to several languages. The Groningen team invited us to help them by translating the booklet to our native language, portuguese, and sending it to the Athens team.