Now, the iGEM competition of this year is almost finished and we think that could be a good idea to try to evaluate the evolution of our iGEM team. Maybe it could be of interest for people that are thinking of participating in next year's competition or could be useful to avoid that other teams make the same mistakes as us.
This year we took the decision of making a reduced team in such a way that all the people in the team had a clear responsability and role. When the team was formed, several general talks were planned in order that old students had the proper required background. Some of these talks were given by the team of professors and advisors, but some of them also by the students themselves. From the educational point of view and as a consequence of the Spanish educational system which is not fond of multidisciplinarity, this is quite a good experience because it allows the interaction of students of different disciplines working as a group and they learn to comunicate among themselves.
The main target of all this formation period was to reach a point in July in which the students were able to design their project and develop it in a more or less autonomous way. At this point professors and advisors should only participate with some advices and support when needed. Nevertheless, the students should keep in mind one fundamental thing, the project should be simple enough to be finished before the Jamboree, so they should be careful in that sense, because lab work gives lots of surprises.
In that way, we consider that they solved these limitations in quite a smart way as they thought the project as a modular one that they could complicate it more and more according to the progress of the lab work.
Although the in silico work was performed properly by the students without requiring too much help from the professors or advisor's team. The experimental work had a lot of problems, and at least at this moment, according to the formation of our students, it is quite difficult to think that it could be developped without the help of a qualificated lab people. It is an issue that will be discussed in forthcoming iGEM particpations of our team.
At the end of the road, we realise that the efford was worthwhile for students, advisors and professors. We are looking forward for the exciting future this science has.
All the team of Professors and advisors.
Students Valoration of the Experience
Arnau(Background in Biology)
I think it is important for us to show our thoughts on this competition and how they can improve the experience of the young entrepreneurs that will come on the following editions. As this is my second time I experience this competition I can compare it to the team and atmosphere of last year.
Registry and iGEM. This year we have had a few problems with some parts (see adversities, for instance). This is a problem that has to be solved if we aim to a Standard Registry that works. Moreover, I am not personally fond of the skin that the iGEM wiki has this year, but I understand that it is an esthetical issue.
Valencia team. We were quite late preparing and building the team and summer caught us looking for some more people. This is one thing that we have to improve (in fact, some ideas are being currently discussed) if we want to be a good, interacting team that knows each other well. This takes me to the next thought: I am glad that this year we built a team that was smaller than last year’s and bore no egocentric behaviours. One has to be a good social engineer in order to build a team out of many strong hard-minded people. This year we have had many more interaction between the two halves of the team and we have had physicists doing minipreps and biologists running Mathematica’s simulations.
Work achieved. This year we aimed for a smaller project that could have many, many uses. That is why I am fond of the comparator. It has the potential that only great devices have. I am glad that we have achieved almost 75% of the work we aimed for, but I am deeply upset with myself and with luck (if that exists) because we have not finished it… I am happy of all the in silico work done and I am specially delighted of our wiki.
Hicela(Background in Biology)
To participate in the competition iGEM this year has been a stimulating experience for me, because I met a intelligent and interested group of people to discover a new way to make science, because I was working in a harmonic team not only committed with the carried out a project, also, with the personal growth of each one of their members, and also, today is very important the satisfaction of having been able to contribute the personal knowledge for the achievement of a common objective. This way, the competition has contributed me tools to strengthen my formation and in the same way a heap of knowledge that can be useful in the professional exercise.
Now in the nearest end, I can not to say if iGEM was like I thought, neither less than I believed, I only can to say simply has been a total different way to create and it`s for this reason that I cant value it like a jointly way to investigate and effective discussion space about of practice applications of the “life”. For the news “iGEMeros” (new participants students for the iGEM) I suggest to consider in each new project the possibility that it will be a complement of the previous one, because may be by this way we could manufacture new systems of parts that can be articulates together, being able to conform more complex systems.
Olga(Background in Biology)
The most interesting I found is to have worked on biology from an electronic point of view. I never thought that two branches as different as those could stick together giving to biology such a solid mathematical basis. I think that the applications of this philosophy open a huge scientific field...
Raul(Background in Biology)
I have had a great time as it was my first time on a molecular biology lab. I wondered how it would be, and now I have realised that it is what I want to do in the future. Furthermore, I think that the parts from the Registry should be more accurate and backed up by some sequencing and documentation. Then the Registry would be much more better and useful.
Pablo(Background in Chemistry)
It has been a positive experience, in general. As my first realistic experimental work I have learned a lot of the advantages and counterparts that this kind of science have. I would like to have a user-friendly and easy-to-find discussion forum at the iGEM web page, so that there is a feedback between the organization committee and students..
Debasish(Background in Chemical Engineering)
IGEM- an international event where students demonstrate their ideas and skills in order to design and engineering biological devices. First time I came to know about this event when I joined UPV as a part of their research group. The uniqueness of the event lies in its multidisciplinary approach and initiatives by the student researchers. I found it extremely exciting as it will not only create a next generation research platform which may be advanced and complementary to traditional biology research but also motivate researchers for a cutting edge research. I am extremely happy to be a member of Valencia team…
Javi(Background in Physics)
I enjoyed working in a new discipline for me, not only by learning but also the interdisciplinarity of the work team. It's a great experience sharing knowledge and see how each member can contribute to create a common project. I think the only way of contributing to the science development is that all the science branches cooperate, in projects like that.
Soumen (Background in Chemical Engineering)
Professor Wangikar from IIT and professors Urchueguia and Fernandez de Cordoba from UPV let me know about this competition and the possibility of participate on it during my research visit in Valencia and it was an enriching experience to be a part of Valencia Team. It allows me to interact in a close way with people from a different culture and different scientific areas and I consider it as a very possitive experience for me. I recommend it for all the students that are thinking of participating in the next year's competition.