RebelBio: For Aspiring Entrepreneurs in Life Sciences

RebelBio: For Aspiring Entrepreneurs in Life Sciences

  Do you feel a strong urge to commercialize your project or research into something that the world needs?  RebelBio, the world’s first early-stage life-sciences accelerator is seeking applications from ambitious scientists and entrepreneurs for its 2018 programs. RebelBio will invest up to $250,000, along with extensive business and scientific mentoring during a three-month long program, which will take place in London from January 8th to April 8th 2018. For an overview of the program, visit this link. To apply, go here...
Spotlight on geekStarters: Chris Isaac

Spotlight on geekStarters: Chris Isaac

Chris Isaac – member of ULethbridge iGEM team and dedicated geekStarter mentor – shares tips for designing successful bioengineering projects at the Lab skills workshop held at University of Lethbridge in March 2017   10 Quick Questions for Chris How would you describe yourself in one sentence? Something along the lines of a jack of all trades and a master of none: picking up the skills I need to know as I go. What do you love the most about your work/school? Having recently begun my Master’s at the University of Lethbridge, I most enjoy the freedom associated with studying at a higher level. While you have objectives that need to be met in your research program, it’s also possible to enjoy the full support of faculty in pursuing additional academic projects even if they don’t perfectly align with your supervisor’s laboratory goals. What is your best accomplishment so far? Most recently, I had the good fortune to collaborate with wonderful people on the Lethbridge Collegiate iGEM team while working on a fantastic project. As a result of our efforts, we were nominated for several awards at the international level. I’m very proud of our team and the part that I played in helping us to that success. What is something you are working towards right now? There are always several irons in the fire, but there are two really cool things happening right now. The first is my academic research into picking apart disease pathways that are common to both Alzheimer Disease and Cancer. The second is a personal research project wherein I develop software to address biosecurity concerns in order to keep...
Spotlight on geekStarters: ULethbridge iGEM Team

Spotlight on geekStarters: ULethbridge iGEM Team

A favorite ULethbridge team picture with the Lethbridge High School team – from our recent aGEM 2017 event in Edmonton Check out this recent interview with the iGEM team from University of Lethbridge, and learn about their exciting plans for this iGEM season and beyond. What is unique about your team? Any memorable moments? It is the University of Lethbridge Collegiate iGEM team’s 10th year of participation. What is your team’s favorite fun activity? What’s something your team does to bond? We bond over pizza at our regular wiki content meetings. How does your team use social media? We occasionally post to our Instagram (uleth.igem), Twitter (@LethbridgeiGEM) and Facebook (@LethbridgeiGEM) pages. How would you describe your team’s project in 3 sentences or less? We are developing a standard, safe, modular and user-friendly cell-free system, to lower the barrier of synthetic biology for new users and hobbyists, while also providing a flexible tool for researchers. This tool is based on a simplified protein production system found in all living cells and can be used as a safe synthetic biology teaching tool. ….Next vivo… What has been one highlight of working on your project so far? One of the major highlights that we have had is coming up with new ideas of how our project can be used by others and what ethical issues our project brings to the field that didn’t exist before. What is your team’s biggest challenge? Coordinating what step each of our parts is in development, with 40 parts it proved to be very challenging! What does your team look forward to the most this season? Our team is looking forward to sharing all of our...

geekStarter Community Highlights – August 2017

Our iGEM teams got a lot done over the past few weeks. Check out their recent updates!   UCalgary iGEM 2017  Project: Improving waste management on space missions by using genetically engineered bacteria to turn human waste into bioplastics Our human practices outreach efforts have been picking up steam, as we have decided to build on previous Alberta iGEM teams’ efforts and create an updated version of a manual instructing members of high schools and postsecondary institutions in the practical matters of starting an iGEM team. We want our manual, which will take the form of a video series, to be a real-world connection between the academic and public spheres, and encourage public participation in building the scientific body of knowledge. Our policy analysis also focuses on barriers which may impede access to synthetic biology and providing sound recommendations which will alleviate these barriers. We envision this to be an important area for research with connections to the feasibility and impact of our project.  Since a long-term space mission will be a collaborative effort between several nations, it becomes important to ensure that access to information and technology is equal across the world. We have other public engagement events planned for a more immediate way to increase local participation in science. On September 14, iGEM Calgary is partnering with TELUS Spark at the Adults Only Night to engage the broader public about the limitless applications of synthetic biology. In addition, we will be hosting an informal event for members of the public at a local venue, Home and Away YYC, to raise awareness about iGEM and synthetic biology. Our process development team is...

geekStarter Community Highlights – July 2017

Summer is peak time for iGEM teams. Find out what they have been up to in recent weeks.   UAlberta iGEM 2017 – Edmonton Aiming to develop a buoyancy based-bacterial screening method which utilizes a bacterial two-hybrid system, the team completed the assembly of the construct needed for this system, and is currently working on building a fluorescent reporter. They have run into some roadblocks in the cloning of the gas vesicle cluster of eleven genes into a single plasmid, but they welcomed this challenge because it exposed them to many different cloning techniques. The team has also started the modelling component of their project and are excited to get the ball rolling with that. As for human practices, they have been super busy reaching out to various channels for feedback on the project, setting up social media accounts, and planning different fundraising and community outreach events!   UCalgary iGEM 2017  With their research revamped towards a focus on long term space missions and the colonization of Mars, the progress of engineering their bacteria to produce bioplastics by recycling human waste has acquired increased momentum. The past few weeks have found them conversing with experts in numerous fields from scientists at the Calgary wastewater treatment plant to astronauts, including Chris Hadfield, to help guide their project towards completion. In the lab, the team has made valuable advances in the process of making Escherichia coli bacteria that can produce and secrete bioplastics. The lab work is divided into three groups: one which handles the complexities behind synthesizing the bioplastics, another which is figuring out methods of extracting the bioplastic from inside the cell, and finally a group to develop the complete process of plastic production, which rounds out the non-biological side of the project. The...

geekStarter Community Highlights – June 2017

Meet our new teams…   …and learn about their exciting projects.   Synthetic Biology Teams – Collegiate UAlberta iGEM 2017 – Edmonton This team wants to engineer bacteria to select and optimize drugs for the treatment of cancer. To be selected, a candidate drug will have to bind to its target inside the bacteria, which in turn will trigger the production of gas bubbles and make the bacteria float. The team plans to use the cells’ buoyancy to screen and optimize the cancer drugs using a process called directed evolution, which they intend to automate.   UCalgary iGEM 2017 – Calgary This will be the second year in a row the iGEM team from University of Calgary will be working on a space travel application. This year’s team plans to build a bacterial system for making biodegradable plastics out of bio-waste produced in space. They also want to make the bio-plastics production process easier and less toxic than currently available methods by programming the bacteria to self-lyse upon reaching saturation with bio-plastics. ULethbridge iGEM 2017 – Lethbridge This is the tenth year that University of Lethbridge participates in iGEM and, as befits this special occasion, the team plans to combine technologies developed by past ULethbridge iGEM teams into a capstone project. They want to develop an economically viable, cell-free kit for the detection of pathogens that will be safe and serve a wide range of users, from EMS vehicles to space stations. The team also plans to conduct a thorough review of current policies and practices relevant to synthetic biology and nano-technology applications.    Synthetic Biology Teams – High School UrbanTundra High-School iGEM 2017 – Edmonton The team wants to continue a project started last year, which is building a bacterial device that converts the toxic chemical perchlorate into chloride and oxygen. Originally intended for use on Mars, whose soil abounds in perchlorate, the system was designed...