Team:Bielefeld-Germany/Human Practice/Student Academy


Student Academy

The event

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This year, the “2. CeBiTec Students Academy” took place at the Centre for Biotechnology in Bielefeld. The Center for Biotechnology (CeBiTec) Bielefeld launched this project in cooperation with the “Familie-Osthushenrich”-Foundation and the regions municipal government, aiming to give 20 young, ambitious students the chance to have a comprehensive insight look in modern biotechnology and Synthetic Biology. This included the execution of four experiments that dealt with the fundamental aspects of biotechnology as well as an exhibition to the biotechnological department of “Evonik Industries”, one of the leading companies in specialty chemicals. We, the iGEM-Team Bielefeld 2013, had the opportunity to supervise one of these experiments and to write the corresponding script. The best thing, of course, was the experience of getting in touch with open minded high-school students and trying to fan the flame of curiosity of this “next generation” of junior scientists on laboratory work, general biotechnological approaches and last but not least, on iGEM.

The experiment, developed and maintained by us, consisted of two trials. In the first trial the students performed a transformation of a plasmidmix in E. coli KRX via electroporation. The mix consisted of pSB1C3::RFP and cp46::GFP, the latter one carries a kanamycin resistance. The transformed cells were then plated on LB-Plates without antibiotic, as well as with chloramphenicol or kanamycin. On the next day, the students should examine the plates. Afterwards they ought to be able to say which antibiotic resistance and which reporter gene were located on the same plasmid.

The second trial was a plasmid isolation using colonies from a LB-agar plate. While working along the script, the students were asked to think about the ingredients of the used plasmid miniprep-kit and what they might do to bacteria and its plasmids.

Further, lectures were held in the course of the Student Academy. We, the iGEM-Team held a presentation about Synthtic Biology and the iGEM competition. In addition to present our project “ecolectricity – currently available” we paid special attention to the things that happen “outside the lab” during the iGEM competition, like acquiring sponsors, getting in touch with all sorts of people from around the world and building up this special kind of team spirit, that one can only experience in a competition like this.

The many questions asked by the students afterwards at the get-together-barbecue and through the rest of the week and their appreciation for our aspirations gave us the feeling that these high-school students got closer insights of Synthetic Biology. Hopefully, someday it will lead them back to a career in Synthetic Biology, just like we have been lead here once upon a time.

We thank the organization-team for their support and the opportunity to be part of the second Students Academy.

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We had a lot of fun to oversee the student academy. We got the feeling that we were able to transport some of our scientific passion. Furthermore, the discussion with the young high school students and the questions they asked regarding synthetic biology gave us the opportunity to refine the way we communicate science and the iGEM competition.