Team:British Columbia/Collaborations

UBC iGEM 2021



Our iGEM team has an intricate history of developing outreach efforts and educational initiatives to promote science and synthetic biology. The beauty of science lies in the deep connection it has with community and collaboration. Together, we can expand the frontiers of science by making fundamental scientific concepts accessible to members of different ages, ethnicities, and educational backgrounds as well as by enhancing dialogue in the fascinating, interdisciplinary field of synthetic biology.

This year, our team members have risen up through the difficulties and obstacles presented by the COVID-19 pandemic to come together to celebrate open communication and collaboration within science. Through various collaborations and meetups with iGEM teams across the world, our team strived to build meaningful connections resulting in productive efforts.

Sparking a Love for SynBio in Brazil: A Collaboration with iGEM USP-Brazil

As a team, we are quite passionate about sharing the knowledge that we have learned throughout our education and project research with our community. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic protocols have led us to embrace change and navigate the dynamic landscape of social connection and what it means to remain connected in spite of physical isolation. Our team has adapted to this changing landscape by redesigning our educational workshops and collaboration initiatives to take place virtually in an engaging and interactive manner.

Designing Science Educational Activities in Brazilian Scientific Camp

As outlined in our HP Outreach, in April of this year, we joined forces with the USP-Brazil iGEM team to bring foundational science workshops and science education to local Brazilian students through hands-on activities. At that time, the USP-Brazil iGEM team was developing a scientific camp initiative for providing elementary science education to young Brazilian public high school students. As our teams’ values align in this aspect of promoting scientific education and accessibility, we were excited to embark on this collaboration in order to instill an interest in science in children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds in Brazil who may otherwise drop out of school earlier than their counterparts who attend private schools and have access to higher levels of education.

Our meeting with team UPS Brazil

To this end, our team members have built a strong connection with each other through weekly meetings from April to September. We have developed experiments such as an agar plate handprint activity to teach young students about the importance of hand hygiene, as well as activities to teach students about the fundamentals of biology, chemistry, and physics.

Contributions to the Brazilian Olympiad of Synthetic Biology (OBBS)

The iGEM USP team has worked on putting together the Brazilian Olympiad of Synthetic Biology (OBBS), which is an academic competition aimed at high school students across Brazil. The goal of this initiative was to spark interest in synthetic biology and enable students to develop and practice their critical thinking skills in the context of an academic competition.

Our team wrote and contributed 14 questions to the OBBS initiative. We designed and built questions that centered on key synthetic biology concepts such as biobricks recombinant DNA technology, as well general technical questions focusing on PCR and gel electrophoresis techniques.

iGEM Journal Initiative

The iGEM team of Maastricht University developed a journal initiative to help iGEM researchers become familiar with the publication process. Participating teams were encouraged to submit a manuscript and perform peer reviews. Our team utilized this opportunity to share our work with other iGEM teams and learn more about other teams’ projects by writing a summary of our approach and reviewing manuscript from other teams

Through this experience, our team members were able to collaborate in a timely, efficient, and logical manner to complete the manuscript by the deadline. We also learned how to communicate scientific findings with clarity and perform peer reviews to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a project. We were excited to share our work with other teams through this opportunity and look forward to reading the complete journal for 2021.


This year’s julyGEM is the third annual local meetup organized by iGEM Calgary. We presented detecTME at julyGEM to teams across Canada and obtained valuable feedback on the implementation of the project.

cGEM National Synthetic Biology Conference 2021: Winning Gold

cGEM is the network of Canadian iGEM teams that brings together students from across the nation to connect with each other and develop their iGEM projects through a community-based learning and feedback model. Our team participated in the national cGEM 2021 synthetic biology conference which showcased the work of 8 iGEM teams from across Canada.

Our team submitted a 15 min project presentation video summarizing our iGEM project and outlining various aspects of our project development over the last few months. Teams at cGEM were judged according to academic innovation, scientific advocacy, and integrative collaboration. Our team members presented at a live Q&A session at the conference, where our project was judged based on the cGEM medal criteria. Our team was awarded the gold medal for our innovative solution to the existing problem of predicting immunotherapy outcomes and we received positive feedback about our various scientific communication and educational outreach efforts!

Our team was awarded the gold medal at the cGEM 2021 conference!