Team:Macquarie Australia/collaborations



As part of our human outreach, we collaborated with Sydney University to cooperatively promote & educate synthetic biology to Australians, through an online competition titled Strange Nature
The Macquarie University iGEM team also held a day to mentor Sydney University, who have just entered the iGEM competition for the first time, this year.


In an effort to foster the growing interest in synthetic biology in Australia, our instructors Dr. Louise Brown, A/Prof. Rob Willows, advisor Yagiz Alp Aksoy and the iGem team hosted Andrew Tuckwell from the Sydney University team on Friday 8th February 2013 providing mentoring assistance to the team who are participating for the first time in iGEM. This assistance involved discussing the competition framework, sharing our experiences and lessons learnt from the past three years.

As a follow up in April 2013, our instructor A/Prof. Rob Willows and advisor Yagiz Alp Aksoy also met with the University of Sydney’s advisor and the team. This meeting involved a tutorial about synthetic biology, the iGEM competition and offered assistance to their project at that point. Ongoing email communication and support from Macquarie University on various aspects of their project has continued throughout the year.

The two iGem teams also had the opportunity to meet up to offer advice, support and share their experiences of the iGem experience. It has been exciting for us to share our enthusiasm on the iGem competition and synthetic biology with another Australian team.

Strange Nature

The process of our collaborative outreach involved engaging high school students to utilize their creativity alongside their scientific education, in order to expand their knowledge on new and emerging molecular sciences, specifically synthetic biology. The idea of the 'Strange Nature' creative writing competition was initiated by the University of Sydney (USYD). The competition involved the submission of a 1000 word piece essay in response to "What problems will be caused or solved by synthetic biology?". The competition was setup with a judging panel of academics, with various awards for outstanding submissions.

Our collaborative approach was initiated by discussions on the project outline and goals with Sydney University. Macquarie University cooperated with USYD by contacting potential judges and high school english and science departments to provide as many high school students as possible with the opportunity to participate. Results

The Macquarie University iGEM team would like to thank Sydney University for the opportunity to collaborate together. The team at Macquarie has also really enjoyed getting to know the Sydney University team through social functions such as bowling and laser tag.