Sunday, 19 August 2012

UK iGEM team meetup

Photo taken by Cambridge iGEM Team, Available at 
On Friday the 17th of August, four of our members attended the UK iGEM meet up, hosted at the Google Campus by the NRP-UEA iGEM Team. We would like to thank Emily's parents at this point for allowing the team to stay over at their house on the Thursday to make the journey that bit easier. The next day myself, Christopher and Will caught the train down to London to get to Google Campus where we met up with Reema, in time for the meet up where we saw Cambridge, Dundee, Edinburgh, Exeter, UEA, St Andrews, UCL and Westminster present their projects and, in a lot of cases, their results. It looks like we're going to have stiff competition when we get to Amsterdam!

The event was broadcast live on Google Hangout, showing presentations from the 9 UK teams about their projects and some of the results they have gathered so far. Our presentation focused mainly on the theories surrounding our project, although we did present a section on our Polystyrene Selection media, which we have been trying to perfect to make sure we are only isolating polystyrene degrading bacteria from the Citizen Science kits you've been sending back. Just a reminder, kits that have the starting 02# should now be ready to send back, so long as they have been in the ground for a minimum of 4 weeks.

As well as the iGEM teams' presentations there was a talk from Dr Tom Ellis, a synthetic biology lecturer who has been an advisor for iGEM teams including E.chromi; he gave us some great advice about iGEM, and told us a little about his research into the field.  There was also an unexpected talk from Dr Adam Rutherford, a TV and Radio presenter known for his series 'The Genetic Code' on BBC4, which was of real interest to the team, giving some tips for presenting synthetic biology and discussing the controversy around copyright in science.

All of the footage from the UK iGEM meet up is now accessable on the NRP-UEA iGEM Team's YouTube page at

Lots of photos are also posted on the event page at

Luke Thompson
Lab Leader

and Christopher Morton
Project Leader

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

A quick update

It's been a while since we last posted, but we're still working hard at finding that elusive polystyrene degrading bacteria. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the Citizen Science kits that have been sent in so far. If you have bought a kit don't forget to leave it in the ground for 4-8 weeks then send it into us using your enclosed pre-paid return address envelope. There are still kits avalible to be bought but we are almost out so get yours soon by the paypal button or by emailing the team at These may not have time to be used by this year's UoL iGEM team, but will still provide valuable data for future years. Even though we've been in our lab for majority of our time, the fundraising aspect has still been going strong with a new sponsor in the lines (more information in another post soon). As well as that we have had design your own cake sales, with icing bacteria (with thanks to the Biological Sciences school office) outside of our building raising some money towards the cause at the University of Leicester open day's, as seen in the photo. We also have other ideas we are getting in motion for ways you can help the team and so watch this space.

We have also signed up for the UK iGEM Team conference, hosted by the UEA iGEM team at the Google campus London. This will be broadcast live so you'll get a chance to see some of the team there with more information about the event on there Wiki at

Thanks for reading

Christopher Morton
Project leader