Last year, SoundBio was host of a high school iGEM team who just wrapped up the 2017 competition last November. iGEM is an international synthetic biology competition where students come together as teams to design and build biological systems. The official iGEM about page can be found here to read more about how the organization works. This competition started out for undergraduates in 2004 but has expanded now to include high school teams as well as community lab teams. Thanks to the efforts of a few key high school students here in Seattle, the first ever high school iGEM team in Washington State was formed for the 2017 iGEM competition, with students representing seven high schools in the area. Over 30 students participated throughout the year, with a core team of 8 students who went above and beyond, attending almost every meeting.
They met an average of three times a week and designed an original project to produce proteins able to degrade harmful PCB chemicals. Based on the scientific literature they read, they identified three PCB-dechlorinating genes from a bacterium named Dehalococcoides mccartyi, which grows in PCB-contaminated waterways. Over the course of the summer and fall, they successfully synthesized and cloned these genes into a plasmid for expression in E. coli. They learned a lot of new techniques for working with bacteria and molecular cloning, as well as valuable experience in research and how to troubleshoot when experiments do not work out as planned! The students also put together a poster and presentation describing their project, which they presented to the other teams as well as a panel of judges at the iGEM 2017 Symposium. For this accomplishment, they achieved a bronze award, quite an accomplishment for their very first year!
We at SoundBio are very proud of the students and all the hard work they put into this project. You can read all about their project, the genes they cloned, and even watch a recording of their presentation using the links below!
iTesla-SoundBio iGEM Page: http://2017.igem.org/Team:iTesla-SoundBio
Videos of final presentation (two parts): https://photos.app.goo.gl/u8BJE4y2UorT5sdy1