In order to promote the use of our custom OnePot PURE cell-free system, we have filmed and edited a tutorial detailing the procedure. It involves the buffer preparation, the energy solution, the protein solution, and the ribosome solution. However, the ribosome preparation is not shown in the tutorial.
We believe this will promote the use of synthetic biology and cell-free systems in high schools and universities around the world, making it more accessible and understandable.
Summer School Teaching
Every year, EPFL organizes a Summer School program for high school students from Köniz, near Bern in Switzerland. During one week they discover our campus, the facilities and laboratories, as well as the research conducted. The 4th of July, we had the opportunity to integrate synthetic biology into this program by teaching them about the iGEM competition, presenting our project and guiding them to perform three experiments related to it.
The experiments were based on Biobits Explorer1, which we adapted to fit with our project. We started by expressing sfGFP into OnePot PURE which allowed us to teach them about protein expression, as well as cell-free systems. Then, we isolated DNA from banana and strawberry, this simple experiment taught them about DNA and cell lysis. The last experiment was to amplify the banana DNA by RPA, they learned how DNA amplification works and how RPA differs from PCR.
The feedback was very positive, the students were happy to have some independence in their experiments and to observe fluorescent proteins. It was also an enriching experience for us, as it was our first time working as a team and performing in front of an audience. It highlighted our strength and areas of improvement in presentation skills.
EPFL Open Doors
The 14th and 15th of September, EPFL held an open house on campus to celebrate the school's 50th anniversary. The visitors could visit stands, attend talks and participate in workshops.
As an iGEM team, we presented our project to the public. It was an amazing experience for us as we learned to adapt our speech according to the person's knowledge in biology.
Overall, we had very good feedback. The people were interested in our project, as it targets a specific problem: grapevine diseases.
They understood how our solution could be applicable in the field and many suggested we turned our project into a startup.
The end of the Jamboree doesn’t mean the end of iGEM for our team. We are scheduled to present our project at future occasions.
EPFL Presentation - October 25th
Before flying to Boston we will present our project at our university, EPFL. It is a major event for us as it will be our first official presentation. We will be able to practice presenting and receive honest feedback from other students and professors. In addition to that, it promotes iGEM at EPFL and will hopefully inspire other students to be part of the future team.
Swissnex - November 4th
Swissnex is a Swiss scientific network located all around the world. Swissnex Boston contacted all the Swiss iGEM teams (ETH Zurich, UZurich, UniGE and ourselves) to present their project. It is a big opportunity for our team as it will allow us to create a network of investors and possibly continue our project if we want to make a startup out of it.
High schoolers information days - November 20th and 21st
EPFL organizes two information days dedicated to high schoolers. They will have the opportunity to discover the different study fields that our university has to offer, which will help them choose their paths. We will present the iGEM competition, introduce them to synthetic biology and explain our project, hoping it will inspire these young minds to participate in it in the future.
1 A.Huang et al., 2018 BioBits™ Explorer: A modular synthetic biology education kit, Science Advances, [link to article]