Sunday, November 30, 2014

Purdue iGEM Adventures in Boston!

As mentioned in an earlier post, I spent my summer interning with the Purdue University iGEM Team. iGEM is an international organization of collegiate genetic engineering teams, founded at MIT in 2003. This year the Purdue team focused on increasing iron uptake in corn and soil via modified soil microbes, so I was able to combine aspects of agronomy with synthetic biology! This past month, the Purdue iGEM traveled to Boston to present our findings at the International iGEM Jamboree with over 200 teams from 32 different countries. It was an incredible trip with awesome science, interesting people, and a fun city. 

At the Jamboree, we were able to listen to teams present their projects, which included everything from designing bacteria to function like computer programs to bacteria that can be used to alternative energy. It was pretty incredible to see all the different applications teams researched!

At the poster session, each team prepares a poster and there is free time to ask teams about their project. Our project, "Minecrobe," attracted many iGEMers interested in our agriculture-based project, as well as our theme inspired by the popular video game "Minecraft." An iGEMer from UANL in Mexico showed special enthusiasm for our project and showed us a Minecraft figurine he had with him. It was exciting to have a fan!

In addition to all the awesome science, there was plenty of time to explore Boston. We toured the MIT and Harvard campus and ate "clam chowdah" at every restaurant we went to. 

And, of course, we visited Mike's Pastry Shop multiple times to satiate our cannoli cravings. So good!

The Jamboree trip was an incredible weekend filled with science, collaboration, site-seeing, and great food. The trip was a great ending to all the hard work we put into "Minecrobe" and was the perfect thing to inspire us for the new year! I now serve as Purdue iGEM's Vice President and we are working to expand the organization to provide synthetic biology skills and opportunities to all students interested in being a part of the iGEM community. Looking forward to more great experiences this year!

By Hailey Edmondson
 Plant Genetics, Breeding, and Biotechnology '17

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