Spotlight on geekStarters: Robert Mayall

Spotlight on geekStarters: Robert Mayall

Robert Mayall is a dedicated member of the geekStarter community, mentor to Notre Dame Collegiate team, and co-founder at FREDsense Technologies. In this photo, he provides feedback to teams at geekStarter’s 2017 High School Jamboree in High River. 10 Quick Questions for Robert How would you describe yourself in one sentence? I am a scientist and entrepreneur interested in combining technologies to create new products and solutions. What do you love the most about your work/school? I love being able to work at FREDsense because there’s a team of incredible people working together to solve problems that affect people’s lives. What is your best accomplishment so far? My proudest accomplishment so far has been seeing the FREDsense technology grow from an idea into a product that we can actually hold and have tested with partners around the world. What is something you are working towards right now? I’m working on finishing up my PhD right now so that I can focus full time on FREDsense. How do you like to spend your downtime? I like to spend time relaxing by cooking spicy meals, working on my car or trying my hand at woodworking projects. What is something you can’t imagine your life without? I couldn’t imagine my life without my phone, as it plans my entire life. What is one thing that people will be surprised to hear about you? Just how much I love spicy food. I may have a bit of a problem… What is something you are afraid of? I’m always afraid that my latest idea will be my last, even though that hasn’t been right yet!...

geekStarter Teams Updates – August 2018

Our teams got a lot done over the summer weeks. Here are their recent updates. Lethbridge High-School iGEM: Developing a system for efficient desalination of ocean water to produce clean drinking water This summer has been super busy for our team! Highlights: Members of the team visited the Lethbridge Waste Water treatment facility in order to gain a better understanding of where our proposed technology could fit into the pre-existing infrastructure. DNA constructs arrived and we have been busy in the lab cloning and completing protein overexpression and purification. The team has been working on their wiki page and have made a lot of progress in the site’s design and content. To celebrate RNA Day on August 1st, we were part of the Alberta RNA and Research Training Institute booth at the Lethbridge downtown farmers market. Fundraising efforts are moving forward with a musical showcase! The team will have a booth as part of the Innovation Pavilion at Whoop Up Days, where they can promote synthetic biology and our project. UCalgary BioMod Team: Building nano-sensors for fingerprinting in forensics analysis Fingerprints are widely used as biometric identifiers, even in everyday life, especially with increased use in technology. This project aims at enhancing the capabilities of fingerprint analysis used in the forensic world. The core idea is to immobilize bright and colourful nanoparticles made of cadmium telluride or zinc sulfide on the fingerprint ridges. In order to label the fingerprints only, the nanoparticles are functionalized with molecules that target lysozyme, a protein that is abundant in sweat, which makes up fingerprints. We have successfully synthesized cadmium telluride nanoparticles using two different syntheses. Both procedures...
Spotlight on geekStarters: Rochelin Dalangin

Spotlight on geekStarters: Rochelin Dalangin

The photo shows Rochelin Dalangin – mentor and team advisor for UAlberta iGEM team 10 Quick Questions for Rochelin How would you describe yourself in one sentence? Um, probably something along the lines of: “I’m a sugar-loving workaholic that enjoys puzzling over intellectual challenges with like-minded people.” What do you love the most about your work/school? I like that while there are routines and standardized workflows for my research, no two days are really the same, and that I know that the products of what we do can be directly used to study the brain further. What is your best accomplishment so far? As an undergrad, I’ve gotten into something like a groove or a routine, so when I started grad school, I told myself I’d try to push my comfort zone more, and I think that as a result of what I’ve done, I’ve grown and learned more about myself. What is something you are working towards right now? My projects are all based on developing fluorescent protein-based indicators for neurotransmission, so I’m working on a few indicators for different neurotransmitters. How do you like to spend your downtime? I enjoy live theatre, and I like travelling. There aren’t too many shows that come to Edmonton, so pretty much all my vacations involve going somewhere that has a show that I really want to see. Otherwise, I tend to hunt around the city looking for good food, or at home, catching up on sleep, reading, and of course, Netflix. What is something you can’t imagine your life without? Besides caffeine? Music, most definitely. I’m always connected to my earphones. What...

geekStarter Teams Updates – June 2018

Here are some recent updates from our high-school teams. Read on… Lethbridge High School iGEM 2018 – Lethbridge We have had a very exciting month! Here are some highlights. We presented our project “Control-Salt-Delete” at geekStarter’s High School Jamboree on May 26 and won the Best Opportunity Analysis award and an $1800 iGEM travel bursary. Both the University of Lethbridge and the Lethbridge Herald had articles on our success in Canmore. Our BioTreks paper won 6 badges and our student Michelle Wu got special recognition for her participation in the BioTreks conference. The team has participated in calculus and math modeling workshops led by mentor Chris Isaac. All members have completed their WHMIS training and we had our first wet lab workshop on June 16 – 17. DNA constructs have been designed and will be ordered very soon. The team is looking forward to a coding workshop in July and getting into the lab to start on their project. Father Patrick Mercredi High School: RSports Robotics Group – Fort McMurray The RSports group was acknowledged at our annual district Celebration of Excellence ceremony with a certificate. The Tackle Dummy is now in fabrication phase. The students finished the CAD models and are now fabricating with the welder. Motors have been stripped and encoders removed. Currently we are dealing with electrical issues due to the very large current draw on the system as a result of the 300lb robot! Students are working with an electrical engineer to resolve this. Notre Dame Collegiate Synthetic Biology Team – High River On June 15, team mentor Robert Mayall came to our school for a third school workshop. He helped us finish our...
Spotlight on geekStarters: Erin Kelly

Spotlight on geekStarters: Erin Kelly

The photo shows Erin Kelly (centre) with two members of the Lethbridge HS iGEM team – Nimaya DeSilva (left) and Candace Chan (right) – at the 2017 iGEM Giant Jamboree in Boston (photo courtesy of the iGEM Foundation and Justin Knight) 10 Quick Questions for Erin How would you describe yourself in one sentence? I am enthusiastic and meticulous about science and education, and I love to be challenged. What do you love the most about your work/school? I have the freedom to do the research I am interested in and the incredible support from my Professors. What is your best accomplishment so far? Optimizing the purification of the protein Cbf5 in my lab. This is a protein that I have studied for years and it’s very unstable. The new purification strategy has made my work and others’ work much easier. What is something you are working towards right now? Completing my MSc in Biochemistry at the Alberta RNA Research and Training Institute at the University of Lethbridge and starting medical school at the University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine. How do you like to spend your downtime? Hiking or skiing, depending on the season. What is something you can’t imagine your life without? My group of friends are the most supportive people and I would not be able to do the things I do without them. What is one thing that people will be surprised to hear about you? I have never participated on a collegiate iGEM team, I have only been involved with high school teams, either as a student or as an instructor. What is something you are...