Team:Elan Vital Korea/Collaborations
We, as a part of the bigger iGEM community, are expected to be honest with our research, cooperate with one another, practice good sportsmanship, be respectful of our peers and celebrate everyone’s efforts, says iGEM Values. We were
thoroughly thrilled when we learned that this year, high school teams are invited to the Grand Jamboree, instead of playing in our own league. It’s exciting that we will meet wonderful college iGEMers from all over the world. We couldn’t wait! So, we have decided to reach out to other iGEMers in Korea before Grand Jamboree. In addition to us, we have one college team at Korea University and one high school team at HAFS in Korea. We were immediately connected, and have successfully established a cooperative network with them.
Korea University iGEM Team
After communicating for a while through email, we were able to – finally – visit Korea University on July 27. We had great time talking with members of the college team. Luckily, we had a chance to talk with Professor In Geol Choi. We briefed him of our project: overview, procedure, lab design, progress until then and problems we have encountered. We were excited about the experience, and greatly flattered by his positive comments.
We discussed, among others, achievements we made and challenges we faced. It was great that we made our plasmids. We were going through, however, difficulties with control experiments, and they gave us valuable advice on the fundamental principles of the lab work: “Don’t do experiments with multiple variables from the beginning, but take one critical variable and start with that.” That was an invaluable advice, and we were able to get good results in our control experiment. Finally, we successfully discovered the critical information of the plasmids that we have created.
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We also discussed about the project of the Korea University team, called ‘Gil’ project. It means the road, or the path in Korean. As the name suggests, they’re making a program that finds and constructs bio-chemical pathways. The program, we were informed, is designed to find multiple possibilities only with reactants and final products. The program comes up with a biological scoring system that is built on ATP, number of carbons, and NADP. Using ‘Gil,’ you can search the most efficient pathway and/or build a de novo pathway that has higher possibilities, providing gene sequence information of the suggested pathways. The Korea University team also tried to test a pathway they found with ‘Gil’. The Korea University team’s wetlab project is creating an agar utilizing the EFC. The pathway they found began with agarose, then proceeds to galactose and, in the process NADH is produced, then oxidized by diaphorase, and produces electricity. We were intrigued by the explanation, and we felt it a very interesting endeavor. We also wanted to test our plasmids with Gil, when it becomes possible.
We learned a lot from them as a mentor team. We were able to learn from their experience of attending the Grand Jamboree, college courses related to the synthetic biology, do’s and don’ts in the lab works, and the perspectives on the progress of the project from idea generation to actual lab works.
We became very close to the Korea University Team. It was assuring that if we ever bump into unexpected hurdles during the lab works, there is somebody out there who can give advice and help us. They were pursuing a project that is quite different from the task we attack, so the advice and help were of general nature. Still, their encouragement and attitudes toward facing an impasse helped us greatly.
HAFS iGEM Team
Two of our members are from HAFS, which made it easier to communicate with the HAFS team Without Soojung Lee and Hyunmin Park, it might have been difficult to talk to the HAFS iGEM team, not least because HAFS is a boarding school. They worked as a liaison, a link between us and the HAFS team.
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HAFS team is engaged in a bio-fuel project: making a particular strand to transform cellulose to alcohol. For this, they have conducted four stages of sequencing process. Our work is not related to a bio-fuel, but we are familiar with E-coli engineering and sequencing. When they had questions relating to their project or iGEM, they reached Soojung Lee, and vice versa. We maintained friendly and productive relationship. As an alum of iGEM, we were happy to share our personal experiences with iGEM. We could provide meaningful advice on lab techniques, such as making LB broth, cutting DNA, and isolating gene, etc. Originally, we planned a joint Human Practice activity, but weren’t able to resolve schedule conflicts and time budget issue. We will try again, when opportunity arises.
Regional Meet-up: August 15
We hosted regional meet-up of Korean iGEMers at Lotte Hotel, Seoul on August 15. It was a great success, and all iGEM teams in Korea attended: Korea University Team, HAFS Team and us as a host. We are proud that it is the first regional meet-up in Korea, and we hope it will stick as a tradition. Next year, we hope more iGEM teams will be organized, and come to the regional meet-up for friendship, cooperation and celebration. For the meeting, we have posted the following invitation:
Elan Vital Korea
Combining resources and skills for the benefit of all is nothing new. For centuries, people have been using this formula for success. We generate great power when we share idea as iGEMers. Elan Vital Korea cordially invites Korean igem teams to a dinner gathering on 15th of August. from 5 to 10:00 pm at Athens Garden of Lotte Hotel Seoul. It will start with a press interview at 5:00 pm. For the remaining four hours, teams will exchange exciting summer experiences at the lab and the process of the project, and have fun with chats and inquires. It is a great opportunity to practice presentation and get feedback on their projects. We are sure that after the gathering, all Korean iGEMers will know each other as well as their projects better,filled with joy of sharing igem philosophy together. All Korean teams are most welcomed!! If you are interested, please contact Young Chan Kim by chankim27(at)gmail(dot)com.
We exchanged chats, and shared ideas and opinions with each other over delicious food. Each team was given an opportunity to give a presentation on their project, and Q&A session followed. Incidentally, all three teams have projects that belong to different tracks, which helped us broaden our horizon and perspectives on diverse ways of exploiting the possibilities opened by the synthetic biology.
We would like to extend our appreciation to Lotte Hotel Seoul for offering sponsorship for the regional meet-up. They have committed to give special treatment for any iGEM teams when they visit Korea. So, if you have a chance to come to Korea, please let us know. We are more than happy to kindly remind the hotel of their commitment. Also, we are ready to be your tour guide, which I believe will make it an offer hard to refuse!