Team:Sydney Australia/Engagement

JAMS Stall - Science Week Fair

Imagine a room full of kids, all moving in packs between various stalls that run from robotics throwing Frisbees in the far corner, to DNA extraction from strawberries in the other. Levels of fascination were peaking, and not just with the school kids that came by.

We each took turns to represent the Joint Academic Microbiology Seminars (JAMS) group to educate kids ranging from Kindergarten to Year 12’s on all things microbiology at the Australian museum for National Science Week . We as a team took a particular focus on explaining the importance of Microbiology for research, particularly how organisms can be genetically engineered to have different phenotypes. GFP-E.Coli was certainly a hit!

University of Sydney Open Day

Amongst the bright, dopey eyed university hopefuls of 2018, our iGEM team spent the day inspiring the keen scientists. We were there to guide them in loading their first gel, and watching protists swimming in glucose filled pond water, while giving valuable advice on what’s so great about a science degree! To our surprise however, just as many kids of all ages were also bouncing along with their parents, all too keen to see all the science that can be done at Sydney University. Their enthusiasm was just what the team needed amid our own laboratory distress.

Northern Sydney Science Hub

Considering the day didn’t exactly start off as smoothly as we had hoped, with one member of our team Alex needing to drive all around the city to get solid plates, the day was a fantastic success. Once plates were sourced, mouth swabs were taken from all kids who were willing to twirl around a little bit of cotton in their mouth. Photos of all the weird and wonderful things were then sent to their parents. From there we can only imaging those poor kids had their mouthes washed out a few times, considering the all gross bacterial colonies we found on their plates. More than that though, we explored the mechanics of terraformation on Mars. Kids were enthused with the idea, which we hope inspire the future generations of Microbiologists!

Mount St Benedicts School Presentation

As our team heads towards the end of our undergraduate degrees, we had the exciting opportunity to test out what it’s like to be a practical class demonstrator in a real university lab. For many of us, this lab was in fact the first lab we ever did any DNA based experiments! We spent our very short hour with them explaining what bacteria are and their morphological structure, prior to letting them perform their first Gram Stain. Following the stain, we helped them all set up microscopes properly so they could all see their gram positive E. coli and gram negative Bacillus cereus. Hopefully we inspired some curious young females to join us in the future in this very lab again!

University of Sydney Article

To promote our cause, as well as to promote the study of Science and the University, our team member Courtney spent a little time with our lovely Media division. The article connected us with numerous people who were we had previously not recognized as potential groups who would influence our project, but have since had a tremendous impact.

Thank you to Eugenia and the rest of the University of Sydney Faculty of Science Media team!

Integrating with Open Insulin Abroad

Every second Monday at 5pm, the team would meet with members from Open Insulin and Counter Culture Labs to discuss where we were all up to. It was very exciting discussing the speedy progress we were all able to make following the teams fund raising successes.
We quickly became confident in troubleshooting experiments, and even more confident in asking for help when our results came out looking a little strange. We spent our chats talking not just about the lab work, but also how these open source insulin producers will be able to enter the market.
We thank these teams for allowing us to engage in their project and continue it within Australia’s borders.

Synthetic Biology Australasia 2017 Conference

Across two days in late September, the team all travelled to the beautiful Lavender Bay to sit among the fore front of Synthetic Biology. Everyone showcased their own projects with vitality and enthusiasm, demonstrating the breadth of knowledge and innovation that Synthetic Biology can inspire.

We were by far the babies of the conference, but we shared our project with all attendees. It was hard and daunting, to present our work to those that have achieved so much. But we did, and from there we were able to connect with people at the conference to further both our own project, and their projects as well.

Poster Survey Shown at Westmead Hospital

After connecting with last year's iGEM team, one of the team members reached out to get us involved in a poster presentation slide series at Westmead Children's Hospital. We were delighted to be invited, and decided to share our Survey with the community in hopes to gain some more insight into the experiences of Australian Diabetics.

Uni Presentations

In order to best prepare ourselves for the jamboree, as well as to engage with as many people as possible to share our story, we took to the stage at various events at University. We took the time to present all facets of the issue of insulin inaccessibility, while also demonstrating how we were approaching all aspects of the iGEM competition. As our first presentation was with the rest of the Coleman research lab, huge encouragements and interesting pieces of advice was given to expand our project even larger. Our second presentation, alongside the USYD BioMod team, took place with researchers from all across the science faculty. From feedback given at this presentation, we took more time to refine the way we presented our work to really focus on the key issues and the big accomplishments we’ve made.