This year, Cornell iGEM has collaborated with Yale iGEM by engaging in the team’s discussion about utilizing non-model organisms as part of projects and research. This dialogue was to address the increasing amount of iGEM projects that have centered around these non-model organisms rather than Escherichia coli or Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Yale iGEM identified our project team as one that was using a non-model organism as part of our project, and have thus asked us to share our experiences working with our non-model organism. We were more than happy to discuss our experiences of working with Flavobacterium psychrophilum, our bacteria of interest that we were trying to tackle with fishPHARM.
We discussed with Yale iGEM the troubles we had in terms of finding necessary information from scientific journals. Another primary obstacle we discussed was growth rate - F. psychrophilum required a much longer incubation time (48-72 hours) before it could be usable in testing. Furthermore, since F. psychrophilum is most active at 16℃ and below, both as a pathogen and in growth, it was necessary to work under these conditions for optimal activity. Luckily, we were able to collaborate with a professor on Cornell campus who had worked with F. psychrophilum and was able to provide us much needed insight into the organism. In collaborating with Yale iGEM, we share their sentiments in the hopes that future iGEM teams will be able to utilize a greater variety of non-model organisms for their projects based off of the challenges we encountered.References
 Starliper, C. E. (2011). Bacterial coldwater disease of fishes caused by Flavobacterium psychrophilum. Journal of Advanced Research, 2(2), 97-108. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2090123210000743