We had a very successful year which would not have been possible without the support of so many dedicated people. We would like to take the chance to thank these people here for all of their help. It really means a lot to us.

2017 Team and Project

Team recruitment was started in February and bi-weekly meetings were held in March to flesh out the 2017 project idea. By the end of March, we had decided to continue working on the project from the previous year: Cloning the cellulose degradation pathway into E. coli for efficient conversion of wood waste to glucose, then production of ethanol by yeast.
iGEM elections for team leads were held in April. We elected the president and 5 team leads: Wet Lab, Dry Lab, Web Design, Fundraising and Human Practices. Our team was 24 undergraduate students at the beginning of April. Over the course of April and May we developed our project, and the goals we wanted to complete before the Jamboree.
Starting in June we began mining the synthetic metagenomic library for enzymes to send for synthesis. In June we also started building the metagenomic cosmid library which continued, with much troubleshooting, until the end of October. Cloning began immediately after our first IDT shipment arrived, and assay development started early September. This continued into late October.
In June we also started contacting people for our science communication project. We wanted to ensure that our science project would be understood by the most people possible. Human practices finished all interviews by early October.

Our project was developed by undergraduate students at Dalhousie University with the help of the following people.

Faculty Support of the Project

Drs. Craig McCormick, John Rohde, and Lois Murray helped form and direct the project from the beginning. Drs. McCormick and Rohde provided their lab and many reagents to get us started. Dr. Rohde provided presentation coaching and formed a journal club, separate to the Think of the PLoSibilities blog. Dr. Murray arranged our own iGEM laboratory space during the summer.

Wet Lab Support

Metagenomic Library
Shubenacadie Wildlife Park provided the porcupine fecal samples and diet data sheets.
Drs. Trevor Charles, Juigun Cheng, and John Hiel (University of Waterloo) welcomed us into their lab and taught us how to create a cosmid library for functional metagenomics. Dr. Charles also provided us with E.coli strain HB101, and cosmid pJC8.
Dr. Melanie Dobson provided metagenomic library mentorship and support.
Dr. Jason Leblanc gave us access to his pulse-field gel electrophoresis equipment and offered instruction and supervision during our first attempt.
Members of the team that worked on this were Mackenzie Thornbury with the help of Bess Pearson, Matt Curry, Landon Getz, and Nicholas Boudreau.

Cloning and Assay Development
Patrick Slaine provided mentorship on primer design, general cloning and assay development.
Jamie Cook provided mentorship in assay development.
Emma Finlayson-Trick provided general cloning tips and laboratory supervision.
Landon Getz provided general cloning tips and laboratory supervision.
Hallam Lab (University of British Columbia) provided substrates and guidance for the enzymatic fluorophore assay.
Members of the team that worked on this were Jacob Sicheri, Mariam El-Aghil, Caroline Guinard, David Mahoney, Matt Curry, Nicholas Boudreau, and Mackenzie Thornbury.

Dry Lab Support

Dr. Morgan Langille and Dr. André Comeau of the Integrated Microbiome Resource at Dalhousie University for the free metagenomic sequencing of the porcupine. Drs. Langille and Comeau were on- hand whenever we needed analysis support or help.
Landon Getz for writing the pipeline we used to pull out novel cellulose-degrading enzymes from the metagenomic sequencing.
Nicholas Boudreau, Jacob Sicheri, and Matt Curry worked on carrying out the pipeline.

Human Practices and Outreach Support

Emma Finlayson-Trick provided dedicated mentorship to the human practices team. Emma helped steer our ideas and kept us in-check for deadlines, as well as provided creative solutions to the ideas we wanted to investigate. Emma also created our blog: “Think of the PLOSibilities” in collaboration with PLoS journals to provide lay summaries of scientific articles.
Team members that worked on Human Practices were Angela Tsai, Nicholas Boudreau, Francis Routeledge, and Mackenzie Thornbury.

Jennifer Baechler from Shad Valley facilitated our DNA extraction workshop.
Abbey Martin from Dalhousie SuperNova Camps included us in their programming.
Paul Briggs and Heidi MacKinnon gave us access to the Biochemistry teaching labs at Dalhousie University for Shad Valley and SuperNova workshops.
Ryan Jameson and Steve Thurbide from the Discovery Centre provided us the opportunity to lead a workshop in their Innovation Lab.
The Dalhousie Microbiology and Immunology Department provided us a space at Dalhousie Open House to spread the word of iGEM to prospective Dalhousie Students.

David Lloyd of FREDsense agreed to an interview and gave us priceless advice for improving our iGEM team.
Dr. Eddy Rubin agreed to an interview and provided insight into the future of metagenomics and DNA sequencing technology.
Port Hawkesbury Paper agreed to an interview and provided insight into the pulp and paper industry. Scott Doncaster and Grant MacKenzie of BioVectra invited us to their factory and provided a tour.

Science Communication:
Bob MacDonald of Quirks and Quarks agreed to an interview on Science Communication.
Science Sam (Samantha Yammine) of University of Toronto agreed to an interview and gave her opinions on how science communication can become better.
Dan Falk agreed to an interview and gave us insight on his take on science communication.
Dr. Catherine Reeves agreed to an interview and gave her professional opinion on science communication.
Dr. Steven Snobelen agreed to an interview, and gave us advice on how to properly set up our science communication survey.

Fundraising Support

Dalhousie University Office of Advancement helped us create a successful crowdfunding campaign.
Molly Marcott used her experience in management to bring fundraising to new heights.
Dr. Craig McCormick used his many connections and knowledge of fundraising to mentor us.

Web Design Support

Landon Getz hosted workshops on web design and provided help whenever we got stuck.
Jacob Nearing provided his mentorship on web design.
Serena Drouillard spent hours making and coding the website. Matt Curry, Jacob Sicheri, Mackenzie Thornbury, and Emma Finlayson-Trick provided peripheral help on uploading content to the wiki.

Business Support

Dr. Craig McCormick kept track of the books.
Drs. Craig McCormick, David Anderson, and Andrew Makrigiannis signed off on a special purposes account for Dalhousie iGEM.
The Industry Liaison and Innovation office at Dalhousie University provided us with industry contacts, helped us apply to the Springboard Grant, and provided advice on intellectual property. Charmine Gaudet and Kristin Tweel of Genome Atlantic put us in connection with local biotech companies and wrote a blog about our team to get our name out there!

General Acknowledgments

Logo Designs by Abdullah Al-Khaledi.
Recruitment: Dr. McCormick, Dr. Zhenyu Cheng, Patrick Slaine, Landon Getz, and Emma Finlayson-Trick read over applications and chose a strong team.
The Department of Microbiology and Immunology for providing continuous support.
Hirtle Promotions made our amazing t-shirts!
Dr. Richard Singer provided us with mentorship on how to write good lay summaries.