Thursday, 16 February 2012

Facebook, Sponsored Events, and the Project - a Quick Update

Thought we'd provide a quick update on events, as things have been moving at a fast pace over the last few days. In the beginning, we assumed that after the application for our stipend we would pretty much have nothing more to do (except of course the mountain of work that is our second semester modules) between now and summer than research and perfect our actual project. Currently, however, the project plan can be summarised as follows: find the genes encoding the proteins responsible for the polystyrene degradation, clone them out and stick them into an expression vector which we can induce to make a high concentration of the aforementioned proteins.

Of course, we know full well that there is a lot more to it than that, and that we have much more research to do and many kinks to iron out before summer. Indeed, there will potentially be many unforseeable obstacles that we will simply have to tackle as we encounter them, but that's another story. For now, however, there is our project (we do have a few more details, both in previous posts and our own notes/minds, and they will be collected into a seperate page on the blog shortly - watch this space).

So why is our project idea not yet as perfect as we would like? Well, it's not through lack of effort. The problem is that the direction of much of our effort happens to be elsewhere - namely, fundraising. The stipend we receive, if we receive it, will cover us for living expenses over summer. However, there are other considerations; resources, flights and accomodation for the jamboree(s), attendance at the jamboree(s) and - most pressing of all - $2000 (just under £1500) for registration by the end of March. We have had meetings (both amongst ourselves and with our supervisors), hijacked other meetings, produced leaflets (which Dr. Badge kindly agreed to hand out at a lecture on Dolly the sheep earlier this evening), waved collection tins at people, and organised various fundraising events, including a sponsored walk of potentially 25 miles (and, potentially, in costume - if it raises enough I will be wearing a bright red full body lycra "Morphsuit" and a Stetson) (there's a donation button on the right hand side of the page) and an online quiz (again, watch this space).

The biggest problem, in my opinion, is the fact that we cannot yet set up our nice professional Wiki page; reason being, the page is provided by iGEM after we register. The reason this is problematic is because we would like to write to a number of businesses to offer them the opportunity to sponsor us, but we don't want to do that without the Wiki, which of course we will need the $2000 to obtain.

So in summary, any donation you are willing to make will be gratefully received. Also, sharing the blog with others is a great way to help us get the message out there, and our official Facebook page, set up just today, is a good way keep up to date with events and raise our online profile. More information about the walk can be found at the top of the page, and there is also a link to the Facebook page on the left.

Anthony Cox - Vice Project Leader.


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