Spotlight on geekStarters: UCalgary iGEM Team

Spotlight on geekStarters: UCalgary iGEM Team

A favorite team picture from a visit to the Pine Creek Wastewater Treatment plant. The team received an exclusive tour and had a lot of questions answered in regards to their project.

Check out this recent interview with the iGEM team from University of Calgary, and learn about their exciting project and hopes for this iGEM season and beyond.

  • What is unique about your team? Any memorable moments?

The most unique part of our team is the diversity that we have. For the summer, we conducted “word of the day” consisting of all the different languages in our group. There were 12 different languages at one point.

  • What is your team’s favorite fun activity? What’s something your team does to bond?

We sometimes conduct table tennis and pool championships during lunch hours that get rather intense. We also like to meet up for meals after lab work.

  • How does your team use social media?

Our team uses Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to keep our followers updated on the progress of our project and the fun we have been having during our time together. We have also used social media to make the community aware of events we are involved in. Follow us @igemcalgary.

  • How would you describe your team’s project in 3 sentences or less?

Our project involves using human waste to produce polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) bioplastic that can be used for 3D printing. We are looking to implement this idea in long range space missions such as the Mars project where waste management will be a problem.

  • What has been one highlight of working on your project so far?

Being a member of the iGEM Calgary team gave us the opportunity to meet and foster connections with undergraduate students from different faculties. This year’s Astroplastic project taught us the importance of interdisciplinary cooperation and gave us the opportunity to make new friends.

  • What is your team’s biggest challenge?

Our final product and processes are challenging and time consuming to quantify.

  • What does your team look forward to the most this season?

Going to the iGEM Jamboree in Boston.

  • What do you hope to achieve by the end of this season?

To make a tool out of the plastic that we produce from our genetically engineered bacteria.

  • Where would you like to see your project go in the future? What are your team’s dreams for the future?

If we are able to develop our project into a working prototype we would love to test the prototype in Mars like conditions and eventually have the process used on Mars.