Background and problems
Tokyo Tech is a club of students interested in synthetic biology,
and is mainly conducted by junior (3rd year students).
Students voluntarily devise most of their activities and are energetically working.
The problem is taking over experience and know-how.
Tokyo Tech was unable to participate in last year's iGEM competition, so few students have experienced the competition. In addition, last year there were restrictions on research activities at the university due to the spread of the coronavirus, and freshmen (1st year students) and sophomores (2nd year students) had little experience in experiments and modeling processes. We had few opportunities to meet face-to-face, so teams of all grades needed to be united with strong cohesion. Therefore, we carried out cross-grade activities that were effective in the past.
What we did
1. Study session
The junior students taught the freshmen basic knowledge about synthetic biology. It was difficult to give a lecture online to new students who had never met face-to-face, but we tried to make it easy to understand by using slides.
2. Wiki reading session
In order for the new students to understand what iGEM is, the sophomores gave a wiki reading to the new students. We asked the new students to read the wikis of past iGEM teams and present the contents. Even though it was an online activity, they were able to understand and present the content properly.
3. Question session with senior students
We had a lot of questions from how to plan the experiment, so we consulted with students who had participated in previous iGEMs. They were willing to help us, answer our questions, and give us useful advice on our experiments. Thanks to them, we were able to realize the flaws in our plan and came up with a better plan.
For the experiment, we were divided into two teams. Specifically, we were divided into two teams: one to complete the cinnamaldehyde synthesis system, and the other to complete the expression system for bacteriocins and adhesion factors. As a result, we were able to proceed with both experiments simultaneously, and were able to obtain results even in the limited time we had. We reported the results of our experiments to each other every week and checked each other's progress.