Thursday, 9 February 2012

Where it all began

First news about this opportunity was on the 2nd of January from a fellow undergraduate at the university, Anthony Cox, and from here there was a avalanche of ideas, questions, what if's and could we's. This all started from one little Facebook message with a link to the International Genetic Engineered Machine competition (iGEM for short), which now with all fingers crossed will be the sole aim for Summer 2012 to be completing this mission. The mountain which we needed to climb was that of a very quickly approaching deadline on the 20th of Jan for wellcome trust stipend funding, with at the same all of the parties involved having at least 2 if not 3 exams during that final week. Upon first hearing of the summer placement idea i was skeptical of it getting off the ground, however it leaped up and decided it would start to gallop through the efforts of the first 5 confirmed members of the team, being Anthony Cox, Nathan Hanna, Luke Thompson, William Harrison and Myself.
Our first challenge was to find the much needed 2 supervisors in order to have a hope of starting a team. This was achieved by a very lucky email to Anthony's Personal Tutor at the University Dr. Badge, who coincidentally had previously been wanting to enter a team and was extremely enthusiastic already , almost by fate we secured our first. Nevertheless we needed a second, so more emails we're sent to contacts in the university, eventually hearing back from Dr Badge that we had secured another supervisor from the genetics department.
          Nevertheless we still had other fish to fry, the largest of those being trying to come up with feasible ideas for a project. After exploring the countless avenues of fuel production, animal feed-stock production, bio-degradation, improving the readability of bio-sensors, 3rd world bio-sensors and bio-sensors to detect prions (A form of protein in a misfolded form making it infectious), we came up with a list of many different ideas each researched to a basic level. At the same time as we were doing this, we were also sending emails to fellow friends at the university on the biological sciences course's, as well as other disciplines and managed to recruit other fellow undergraduates to fill the remaining 5 places on the team. Which on its own was quite a feat with many solely concentrating on revising for the 1st semester of 2nd year exams, which i can assure you, needed revising for. However through combined efforts of the first 5 confirmed, we somehow managed to pull it all off and presented our ideas to our supervisor directly after the first exam, he also having ideas of his own. From this meeting the now main idea was finalized and we proceeded to fill out the form for the Wellcome trust stipend.

Christopher Morton - Project Leader.

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