Sharing experience and learning from the University of Macau iGEM team
Due to the fact that we are a high school team in Macau, we lack the lab facilities necessary for iGEM. Luckily, we were allowed to conduct most of our lab works at the University of Macau. And more importantly, we are in such short distance with the UM iGEM team. This gave us wonderful opportunities to share ideas and receive mentoring support from them. Both of us two teams are participating in the iGEM2019 as our first time.
With their invitation, we have visited Macau WWTP and learned how these plants help to clean and purify wastewater. We have also learned about the interview skills, the basics of experimental design and lab technic from them. Moreover, we have understood more about the complexity of the bacteria secretion system and how this usually applies to a biotechnology company. Through this experience, we have built a stronger knowledge foundation, allowed us to better target the question behind our project and developed our constructs.
Discussion with University of Edinburgh iGEM 2019 teams at UK
In July 2019, two of our team members went to the University of Edinburgh and had the pleasure of meeting the hospitable Edinburgh_OG and Edinburgh_UG iGEM teams. Our members presented PuiChing Macau's iGEM project and our practices/experiences with cyanobacteria to the teams, while both Edinburgh teams presented their respective projects: "Remedye" (Edinburgh_OG) and "Enhancing hydrogen production in Rhodobacter sphaeroides for use as an economically viable biofuel" (Edinburgh_UG).
We found a lot in common with the Edinburgh over graduate team: both of our projects utilize laccase; we share similarities in our targeted pollutions and the fact that we are both trying to reverse the damage humans have done to the environment and to ourselves. However, the Edinburgh team went one step ahead and explored territories of laccase usage we have never thought of. They also presented us their investigation in physical methods and the feasibility of such methods in the industry, which is an area we haven't explore at the time.
The undergrad team again struck us with the practicality of their project. They told us their discovery outside of the laboratory, with statistics of people suffering from the winter due to a social issue called fuel poverty in their country and how their project could really change the situation. It is also impressive that they contacted officials and insiders in order to assess the feasibility of their project.
In all, their depth in which they are exploring the various topics and how they link science advancements with social issues really helped us understand more of iGEM: it is something more than a scientific competition, and that it is always important for scientists, young or old to bear the responsibility of improving the lives of humanity."