QGEM was happy to collaborate and partner with many other iGEM teams and external partners this year.
Apart from the final iGEM Jamboree, QGEM participated in 4 conferences, gave 7 presentations (3 posters, 4 seminars) – but more importantly met students like us – interested in synthetic biology!
Members of our team were also involved in organizing the first ever Canadian Genetic Engineering Machine Conference (cGEM) in October 2020. Our collaborations and partnerships remind us that the iGEM competition is not just a chance to engage in synthetic biology, but engage with others!
German iGEM Meetup – iGEM Marburg
We had the pleasure to attend the German iGEM Meetup hosted by iGEM Marburg and meet with several team from around the world. Within this meetup we presented our poster, delivered a presentation on our project, and had fun with making a unique and creative team introduction video. Beyond receiving valuable feedback from the incredible judges in attendance, we had the opportunity to listen to Daniel Schindler, the leader of the Max Planck DNA foundry in Marburg, and Dr. Barbara Di Venturas who studies synthetic biology at the university of Freiburg. We also participated in several of the various workshops offered by iGEM Marburg.
JulyGEM 2020 – iGEM Calgary
We were also fortunate enough to attend iGEM Calgary’s JulyGEM 2020 conference over Zoom. Within this conference we were able to meet, and view the presentations of several teams around Canada, the United States, and around the world (highlighting the beauty of virtual conferences). We were able to present our work and gain valuable feedback that our team incorporated into our presentations and poster. Additionally, the feedback from judges that we received was very specific towards our use of microneedles, so we arranged further communications to gain a better understanding of the technology.
Mini iGEM Jamboree 2020 – iGEM Concordia
We also had the pleasure of attending iGEM Concordia’s Mini iGEM Jamboree 2020. Similarly to the previously mentioned meetups, we were able to showcase our poster and deliver a presentation that received direct feedback from judges. Beyond the valuable workshops offered by iGEM Concordia, the feedback we gained was very valuable as it directly related to the iGEM judging guidelines. This gave us a deeper understanding of our project and what areas of it we needed to improve for our final iGEM presentation.
It’s always a good time in the true north strong and free. This year, teams from across Canada met multiple times holding social events, troubleshooting calls, attending mini-conferences, and sharing our project ideas. What started off with a Slack early in the year transpired to something much greater and we couldn’t have been more thrilled to meet our fellow Canadian synthetic biologists.
2020 has been a memorable year. And Canadian teams said let’s make it more memorable. There was no better time to introduce the first ever Canadian Genetic Engineering Machine conference, a chance where Canadian students, researchers, and industry could all come together and collaborate under one roof (or Zoom room).
Our team was proud to help in this conference, being held online in October 2020, with team members participating on outreach committees, meant to foster engagement and promote the conference to all parties!
Chadwick International School in South Korea is a high school team, and we were happy to Zoom across the ocean helping their project this year. Although time zones conflicted, Chadwick had an awesome idea. Their goal is to make an antibody that binds Ras protein in the cell, thus expecting to stop Ras signaling and impeding cancer growth. It was great giving the Chadwick team advice on expression and purification of the antibody, in vivo and in vitro testing, cell penetration assays, and microscopic detection methods for Ras protein association. We’ll be following them along and wish them the best during the in vivo testing of their antibody!