Team:Harvard BioDesign/Safety

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Project Design

We extracted fim from the genome of E. coli K-12, a non-pathogenic laboratory strain. We transformed our plasmids into the Keio parent strain, another a non-pathogenic laboratory strain. In response to feedback from experts, we also transformed our plasmids into Nissle, a probiotic that is not only non-pathogenic but also beneficial. We knocked out mannose-mediated binding in some of our plasmids which makes our system safer because it prevents our engineered E. coli from binding to healthy epithelial cells.

Safe Lab Work

We worked at the Joshi Lab in the Wyss Institute, a BSL-1 laboratory. Before beginning work in lab, we took a safety course online that trained us in general lab safety, biosafety, radioactive materials safety, and laser microscope use. We learned some important lab practices, such as wearing gloves, tying back long hair, and what to do in emergency situations, and also received a healthy dose of fear- to quote our training manual, “Blindness is forever!”. One case where we had to take extra safety precautions was when we gel extracted bands from electrophoresis gels. We wore UV protection goggles to protect our eyes from the UV light.

Safe Shipment

Since we are based in Cambridge, close to iGEM HQ, we were able to skip the hassle of shipping and deliver our biobricks directly to iGEM HQ.