PCR Machine Inspiration and Design

We attended the University of Maryland meet-up in June. We had been working with the idea of a cheap DIY PCR machine because we had discovered one of the main barriers to colleges, community labs, and high schools getting into biotechnology was the price of the equipment. While at the meeting, we talked to the William and Mary team and discovered they had to get up ridiculously early to use a PCR machine in an advisor’s lab because they didn’t have their own machine. Upon hearing that, we agreed to sell our low-cost thermocycler that had not even been fully designed yet to William and Mary’s iGEM team. At the conference, we also spoke with the University of Maryland team about thermocyclers because they were also in the process of building a one for themselves. We discussed and, after the conference, continued a dialogue about the best, lowest cost options for design, Peltier chips, and code for the Arduino. The results of the collaboration can be seen on the Project Overview page.

Another point of collaboration was our meet-up with UNC’s iGEM team. This is the first year UNC will be going to the Jamboree, and we wanted to discuss our ideas and see if there was any way Duke iGEM could offer them support or collaboration with their project. Our projects were in different areas, but we enjoyed learning about their projects and answering questions about the structure of the Jamboree to the best of our ability.