Team:Georgia State/Collaborations



Backyard Biology @ Emory University: Project JBroth

Low Cost LB and Competent Cells!

Our interest in our topic began when we were researching possible projects. What we found most interesting was a research paper from the Journal of Pakistan Medical Association that tested the efficacy of microwaving LB rather than autoclaving. Also, a project that inspired us was the project from the University of Calgary (2014) that tested the efficacy of a homemade wash for competent cells. From these projects, we asked ourselves: Could one conduct a synthetic biology project without access to a professional laboratory?

This summer, we created a cost effective alternative to lab grade Luria Broth (LB). To compare our homemade broth, J-Broth, and lab grade LB we compared optical densities of liquid cultures and transformation efficiency of competent cells. For each method of testing, we compared autoclaved LB, microwaved LB, and microwaved J-Broth.


We grew XL1-Blue E. coli cells in liquid culture of lab grade luria broth and J-broth. The media was either autoclaved or microwaved for 8 minutes at 650 Watts before the cells were added.
We then made competent cells using XL1-Blue e. coli cells that were grown in each type of media following the Inoue method (Inoue, 1990) and calculated the transformation efficiency for comparison.


Price Comparison

Lab grade LB Powder (1L)

LB Powder (Sigma-Aldrich) : $141.50 for 1000 grams $0.1415/gram x 25 = $3.538
Total = $3.538

Lab Grade LB Individual Ingredients (1L)

Tryptone (Sigma-Aldrich) : $615 for 1000 grams $0.615/gram x 10 = $6.15
Yeast Extract : $190 for 1000 grams $0.19/gram x 5 = $0.95
Sodium Chloride (Sigma-Aldrich) : $71.50 for 1000 grams $0.0715/gram x 10 = $0.715
Total = $7.815

J-broth (1L)

Bulk Supplements Amino Acids - $16.96 for 250 grams $0.067/gram x 10 =$0.67
Marmite Yeast Extract - $12.63 for 500 grams $0.025/gram x 5 = $0.125
Sodium Chloride (table salt) - $8.28 for 1000grams $0.0083/gram x 10 = $0.083
Total = $0.275

Savings from LB Powder = $3.263/liter

Savings from LB Ingredients = $7.54/liter

Figure 1
LB Type OD 600 Diluted by 10
Lab Autoclave 0.122
Lab Microwave 0.185
J-Broth Microwave 0.098
Figure 2
LB Type Transformation Efficiency (CFU/microgram)
Lab Autoclave 1.2e6
Lab Microwave 3.16e6
J-Broth Microwave 1.17e6

Download the entire project:

Project JBroth

Atlanta Science Festival #ASF2015!!!

BioBricks, Synthetic Biology in Atlanta (GSU/GaTech iGEM)

The Atlanta Science Festival Atlanta Science Festival is a week-long event dedicated to the celebration of science and technology. This year the festival attracted over 45,000 people

This year, GSUiGEM collaborated with the Georgia Tech iGEM team for this event. During the Exploration Expo, these main topics were discussed with Atlantans: What is iGEM/Synthetic Biology?; Ethical Concerns and Careers in Synthetic Biology. In addition, children (and even adults) could build their own Biobrick with legos

GSU Discovery Day

Day 1: Atlanta Science Festival

The Atlanta Science Festival consisted of over 100 events strewn across Metro Atlanta. This event brought together science lovers and the curious together to learn more about science. Events included nature walks, scientific movie breakdowns, and even a lecture from Neil deGrasse Tyson himself at the Fox Theater. This year, GSU-iGEM participated in two events to help educate the public about synthetic biology. The first event, Discovery Day, was held at Georgia State University. The team met hundreds of guests and unveiled our fun and educational game we called “BioBricks.” We also answered questions about bioethics and concerns people have regarding synthetic biology. Both the parents and their children learned a lot with us that day!

Exploration Expo

Day 7: Atlanta Science Festival

For the second event, we collaborated with GTech’s iGEM team to greet thousands of people in Centennial Park for the Exploration Expo. Once again, we hosted the BioBricks game and connected with people from all over the city. We answered questions and raised awareness for science literacy. We explained what iGEM is and how the program is beneficial to not only undergrads, but to everyone on the planet!


The overall effort of this outreach was to address the general public’s concerns about the risk and benefits of synthetic biology. As a team we wanted to reach out and show that synthetic biology is a science that is helping to improve global quality of life not endanger it.

Assemble your Biobrick!

In an effort to bring synthetic biology/iGEM awareness to the public, the GSU-iGEM team, along with the GSU Synthetic Biology Club, developed a game that we could play with children and adults alike using Legos to demonstrate a standard, working iGEM construct. This involved lots of hours developing a game that was simple yet informative. We also spent a good chunk of time sorting upwards of 12000 Lego Bricks!

Legos were the obvious choice because, well, who doesn’t love Legos? It also mimics the iGEM standardized cloning sites in physical form. We created a key to help our new friends build their own BioBrick construct for a yeast or a bacterial cell. We had a lot of fun. It generated lots of questions from the kids and their parents. I think we really helped them understand how we work in the lab better with this demonstration. The hands-on aspect of it really aided in cementing the process into their heads (and ours too).