UF iGEM 2021


Innovation Through Collaboration

Team John Hopkins and Team UFlorida began collaboration efforts in the early stages of both of our projects. By forging a relationship early in the summer months, we have been able to improve both our projects using each others’ advice. Meeting periodically on Zoom helped us to communicate ideas efficiently and safely, as well. As we approach the end of our projects’ development, we continue to remain in close contact as sounding boards for one another.

Click on a date to learn more!

  1. June 1st

    In our first meeting with Team Hopkins we focused on introducing both teams’ members and project ideas, along with any obstacles that had arisen during these early stages. As it was Team Hopkins first year participating in iGEM, they expressed concern regarding understanding the general logistics of the competition. Team Florida helped clarify on how the work done by each subdivision comes together through the wiki page using our past projects from the last two years for reference. We agreed to make powerpoint presentations explaining our projects in further detail to share at our next meeting.

  2. June 15th

    At this meeting Team Hopkins and Team UFlorida came together to present our powerpoints to get a better understanding of each other’s projects, plans, and obstacles. We got a better idea of their goal to use an anti-fungal plasmid system to help reduce the destruction of coral reefs. They were also able to get a better idea of our goal to use sugars as selectable markers for bacteria in place of antibiotic testing in conjunction with the CRISPR-cas9 system in hopes of reducing antibiotic resistance. From this meeting we learned about their systematic approach to wiki design, something our team had struggled with in past competition seasons. By deciding on a color scheme first, they were able to smoothly build their visuals and overall aesthetic. We got valuable advice on readability, logo and character usage. Their cartoon coral mascot, meant to guide users through their wiki page, inspired Team Florida to implement cartoon iconography into our wiki page. This exchange of ideas had a heavy influence in the creation of our cartoon gator-plasmid logo design.

  3. June 19th

    At this meeting, Team Hopkins introduced us to CodePen, an open source online community for code that they utilized for adding animations to their wiki page. This inspired us to try animating our gator-plasmid logo and use it additionally as our wiki’s loading symbol. Although we ended up using a .gif export of several drawn frames to animate the logo, we attribute the idea of implementing more animations to our page to Team Hopkins. They also shared their use of Canva, another open source platform for creating graphic design content. Team Florida found these resources valuable as we continued to work on the creative components of our wiki. Together we reviewed wikis of teams that had won awards for overarching similarities and patterns in design.

  4. August 17th

    In addition to Team Florida and Team Hopkins, this meeting we were joined by members from Team UPenn and Team Florida State. Each team had the opportunity to introduce themselves and their projects. Team Hopkins updated us that they were struggling with finding educational outreach opportunities to satisfy the science communication medal. Having recently presented about iGEM, our project and the importance of research at our university’s Research Immersion in Science and Engineering (RISE) program, Team UFlorida was able to offer advice on how to navigate seeking out educational outreach opportunities. The RISE program we participated in is a summer immersion experience run by the University of Florida for high schoolers to learn more about science or engineering majors and careers. We suggested Team Hopkins explore any similar programs possibly run by their university, as well as reaching out to middle and high schools who may be interested in having their team present as part of their science fairs or summer camps.

  5. September 15th

    One of Team UFlorida’s captains was able to provide Team Hopkin’s wet lab captain with extensive guidance on developing their protocols and improving experiment design. Rather than using a one plasmid system, Team Florida suggested the use of a two-plasmid system to allow Hopkin’s genetic circuit to be split into separate plasmids. Our captain was also able to calculate the concentrations necessary for Hopkin’s Gibson-Assembly and polymerase chain reaction protocols to produce sufficient yields of needed plasmid. Using data from New England BioLabs (NEB) website, he was able to derive formulas in excel to obtain the optimal concentration of stock DNA needed for each reaction. This played a key part in streamlining Team Hopkin’s resource usage as well as time spent running reactions in the lab.