A brazilian iGEM Meet-Up
This year, we organized a meet up in São Paulo, which had participants from at least 8 different cities and 3 states of Brazil. From the big metropolis of São Paulo to the amazonic forest embedded Manaus, connecting people from more than 2000 kilometers apart. 6 different prospective teams took part by the time it happened (March). However, only 3 were able to make it to iGEM this year, due to lack of proper funding for the subscription and running the projects.
Coming back to the event, we had 3 main moments: Talks to the iGEM teams, talks by the iGEM teams and round tables.
We had talks from Ana Sifuentes , from iGEM, and Ignácio Sanchez, from TechnoX competition, providing a perspective of Synthetic Biology competitions in the world and Latin America.
After that, every team had the opportunity to present their projects, and, more importantly, get feedback from other students. Both past and prospective iGEMers, from teams since 2013 were present. This great exchange has helped to integrate and facilitate iGEM in Brazil. We even created a WhatsApp group, which we use almost on a daily basis to talk to each other and improve our projects.
At the end, we had talks from former iGEMers who are now in biotechnology positions in academia, big companies or small biotech start-ups. This was inspired in the talks “Life after iGEM” at the 2016 Giant Jamboree, and helped the Brazilian iGEM community to get a good perspective of how iGEM can influence our futures.
Finally, the most important thing about this event was that everyone had lots of fun! It was the first big iGEM gathering in Brazil, and everyone was really happy to find their nerd “soul mates” all around the big country of ours. We are even talking about where the next edition will be. Hopefully this will enable synthetic biology to grow bigger and better, specially regarding mentoring about funding possibilities, allowing iGEM to positively influence more and more young students in Brazil.