The iGEM Bootcamp was a dual outreach and recruitment / training workshop we held over the course of two weeks early in the summer. Students followed a prescribed set of experiments as they got a taste for molecular biology and synthetic biology in an attempt to assemble two BioBricks together.
We choose BioBricks representing both RFP and LacZ expression, hoping that the visuals (either Red, Blue, or Dark Purple) would allow students to visualize the efficiency of their cloning. The protocols and experiments are described in detail in our Bootcamp guide, available as a PDF: File:T--Kingsborough NY--iGEM bootcamp instructions1.pdf
The results were partly successful: students were able to transform bacteria with ligation reactions and recovery colonies. Moreover, more colonies were recovered for the experimental ligation than the control reactions. However, for some reason the LacZ BioBrick failed to produce the characteristic blue color when grown in the presence of X-gal (we even tested the X-gal with pUC19, and this positive control was blue - data not shown). Some faint blue color (or purplish color for combination BioBrick - RFP with LacZ) appear on the experiment plate (E2), but the result was not as clear as intended.
Below are some of the results from one group of Bootcamp students, which are similar to results obtained from other student groups).
In the future, we may add modules to the bootcamp - for example, verifying that the constructs were made correctly by colony PCR, since the color read-out was not ideal.