Team:Hamburg/The funniest Things

The funniest things

Lost in translation: The floppy disk and the USB drive

For the last part of our project we had to introduce Gallium-Siderophore complexes to our bacteria and the respective human cell lines. Since complexation is not a given, and it is necessary to proof that the complex has formed. One of our main goals was to provide evidence that already complexed siderophores are more effective than just applying gallium and the siderophores together.

To generate the necessary evidence, we wanted to measure kinetics of the complex formation to show that a complex is forming. Luckily our products are photoactive so that we could monitor it with a standard photometer over a couple of hours. To find out which percentile of our siderophores formed a complex we applied NMR-measurements as well. However, since the Computer that was attached to the photometer was old, running on Win 98 to be precise, we had some issues extracting our data from it.

Floppy And this is where the story begins: Once upon a time, 10 days ahead of the giant jamboree, a chemist wandered into an old laboratory. To measure UV-absorption of a former unknown chemical compound. Unwavering he approached the good old photometer and its translator Dell Optiplex Win 98, a quartz cuvette filled with pyochelin his only companion. He applied a small amount of gallium-nitrate solution to the pyochelin and started a kinetics measurement to find out what intrigued him. The measurements went just fine the chemist was relieved and happy. Then he said:” Well the data is looking good, now I just have to analyse it in detail and therefore extract the date from Optiplex”.

So, he grabbed his USB-drive and connected it to Optiplex, Optiplex replied wtf is that. The chemist said well this is a modern data storage system give me my data. Optiplex replied wtf is that, give me a driver. Chemist replied well provide me with internet then. Optiplex replied no. The chemist who was slightly annoyed already said well then what can I do. After an inquiry with the IT-service of the university he was brought to an old dusty cardboard box, there you will find what you are seeking my friend the IT-expert said. The chemist opened the old and dusty box and was quite surprised by what he found, a single, gray floppy disk.

Armed with his USB-drive and the floppy disk he went back to face Optiplex again. Optiplex seemed quite content with what he was offered. The data could be transferred without any further problems. However, another question arose how can we bring the floppy disk together with the UBS drive. Luckily the answer to the question hid just about 10 m away on the other side of the floor.

In room 110 another old machine was found, his exterior so scratched and battered that his name was unreadable. The chemist approached it cautiously, unsettled by his earlier experience, but voila both the USB-drive and the floppy disk were readable and finally together and the chemist finally relieved could start his detailed analysis.

fire in the lab

It was a warm, surprisingly non-raining day outside the lab. Inside, all attendants of our team were busy doing some routine activities and everything seemed quiet and placid. No one could have foreseen that this day would turn out to be the most shocking one of our whole time in the iGEM lab.

Then it happened: The team member plating some freshly transformed cells put the spatula directly out of the flame into pure ethanol. It comes as no surprise that the hot spatula inflamed the ethanol.

The immediate attempt of choking the flame with a piece of foil laying nearby proved a fail, so harder measures were needed. This was the time the fire drencher stored in the lab and ignored up to that point had its field day: Grabbed by another, motivated team member it finally was used! Unfortunately, this team member did not heed the instructions given at the last fire drill. So instead of extinguishing the fire, the pressure of the carbon dioxide released from the fire drencher dashed the burning receptacle through half of the lab, spreading burning ethanol on its way.

At that point the decision was made to not try anything else and simply wait until the ethanol was burned completely which only took a few more moments as only a small amount of ethanol was initially used.

In the end we can claim to have been lucky. Nobody was harmed, nothing got damaged and we even managed to not contaminate the transformed cells during our attempts to extinguish the fire. The only thing that was different on that day was that we had a high number of visitors because as the happenings went around, nearly everyone of the group popped in to hear it from the horse’s mouth.

Book of quotations

Elisabeth, during wiki preparation while calculating siderophore and iron concentrations:
“Can we include my calculationskills in stoichiometry in my attributions?”
5 min later, speaking to her handheld calculator:
“This does not make any sense.”

Carla von Salisch ( “von” is a nobiliary particle):
“I am sorry but I cannot attend the seminar, I have to supervise the gardeners which takes longer than expected.”

Draft from one of our texts:
“Worldwide the usage of antibiotics becomes less and less responsible, from patients who don’t take their medication properly, to landlords feeding vast amounts of antibiotics to their livestock, to contaminations due to unsafe production- plants the overall contamination with antibiotics of our planet proceeds quickly.”

Interlab with Phytoparts

Interlabstudy: instead of Interlab Testparts

One might think doing the interlab study is no big deal, when all the prerequisites are met. Well, let me convince you that it can be very difficult when a systematic error throws of all your ideas.

So, what happened to us? Essentially a misreading, we were convinced that the 2017 distribution kit was opened and already used. Well, it was not.