geekStarter Community Highlights – May 2017

UPDATES FROM SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY TEAMS Lethbridge High-School iGEM The Lethbridge HS iGEM team has been picking up the pace lately, and has lots to report! After exploring a few project ideas, the team settled on making biological pigments in E coli bacteria, with the goal of producing large quantities of biologically friendly ink for the printing industry. With help from their team mentors, the students designed genetic constructs for four different colours of Synthetink, and are getting ready to start cloning soon. Excited for the opportunity to document their project and publish it, the team wrote an article for BioTreks 2017, which is getting into very good shape as they continue to edit it and incorporate feedback from judges and other teams from the BioTreks online community. On April 29, the students participated in the BioTreks online conference, where they learned about other teams’ projects and received feedback from judges in real time.   On May 4, the team hosted a parent and teacher lab night – their first ever. At the event, the students familiarized parents and teachers with their synthetic ink project and the benefits of participating in the iGEM competition. They also guided their guests through hands-on experiments such as DNA extractions from strawberries and gel electrophoresis with crayola markers, to give them a sense for wetlab protocols in a fun way. The lab night was well received by parents and teachers and will likely become an annual event that will increase public engagement and awareness about the benefits of the program. Awesome work, Lethbridge HS!     Notre Dame Collegiate Syn Bio team from High River While still looking to develop an ovulation-detection system for natural family planning, the team has shifted gears regarding the hormone they’ll use. Additional research and their mentors’...
Spotlight on geekStarters: Isaac Ward

Spotlight on geekStarters: Isaac Ward

Isaac Ward – Mentor of synthetic biology team from Notre-Dame Collegiate in High-River since 2015. This photo of Isaac was taken at the Lab skills workshop at University of Lethbridge in March 2017   10 Quick Questions for Isaac 1. How would you describe yourself in one sentence? I am an adventurous person, who loves science and is a little too curious. 2. What do you love the most about your work/school? I spent this past winter as a ski instructor, and really find it fulfilling when a student has that eureka moment and realizes what they are learning. 3. What is your best accomplishment so far? I think, that would have to be the journey to accomplishing my university degree and all the adventures and achievements that I experienced along the way. 4. What is something you are working towards right now? I was just accepted into a Bachelor of Education program, and will spend the next few years working towards hopefully becoming a high school biology teacher. 5. How do you like to spend your downtime? I really like spending my downtime in the outdoors, hiking and camping and then skiing in the winter. 6. What is something you can’t imagine your life without? I think I would have to say learning, and having access to education. This was not always the case but once I was in university I really learned to love it. 7. What is one thing that people will be surprised to hear about you? I feel like there are a number of things that people are surprised to learn about me, It might have been the cougar that tried to...