Team:Penn/Achievements

From 2012.igem.org

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<b><div class="name" align="center">Perception Barriers to Bacterial Therapeutics</div></b>
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<b><div class="name" align="center">VerifiGEM: A New Way to Test Biobricks</div></b>
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However, the removal of biological barriers to bacterial therapeutics alone is not sufficient to enable bacterial therapeutics to move into the drug development pipeline. Through the course of recent history, many high profile technologies, such as gene therapy or nanotechnology have been met with public skepticism and even fear, as the technologies failed to deliver on earlier promises. This prompted a constriction of available funding and subsequently impeded progress in those fields, an outcome that nanotechnology in particular is only just beginning to recover from.
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Our team proposed a new framework for distributing the monumental task of Biobrick verification and quality control, a process currently undertaken solely by iGEM HQ. We developed a user interface and organizational schema that would enable teams to quickly and efficiently test each others' biobricks, provide feedback, and form an ad-hoc network of laboratories that can better handle the "rush" of biobricks produced during the iGEM competition.
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We propose a model, adapted from Gartner Inc, which proposes that the disconnect between the expectations of the public and the realities of scientific research produces an initial "peak of inflated expectations" (and funding), that rapidly disappears as promised advances are delayed or do not work as planned (Figure 1). We believe that this "trough of disillusionment" is the cause of restrictions in funding and a general stall of scientific progress in a given field. We propose that the peak can be smoothed out, reducing the size of peak, but more importantly, eliminating the trough of disillusionment (Figure 2).
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<b>Figure 1</b></div><div style="text-align:center;">Figure 1: The hype cycle without the modulating effects of public outreach efforts.</div></div><br>
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<b>Figure 2</b></div><div style="text-align:center;">Figure 2: The modulation of the extremes of the hype cycle through public outreach efforts such as iGEM. </div></div></div><br>
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<b><div class="name" align="center">A Consideration of the Bench to Bedside Transition of Bacterial Therapeutics</div></b>
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What then, must we as synthetic biologists do to prevent this fate from befalling our own field of study? Certainly, scientists must perform a balancing act between reporting the advances they have made and making realistic conclusions. iGEM teams in particular have a unique opportunity to impact this cycle. Each time a team teaches a class to younger students, presents their research, or even sets up a fun experiment at a local science event, they are given an opportunity to communicate the potential and the limitations of synthetic biology. This is an opportunity many researchers do not have, and should be treated as more than simply a time to take pictures and have fun (although those are certainly important parts of these events nevertheless).  
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We performed an in depth investigation of the complex interaction between scientists and the public to explain the lack of bacterial therapeutics in the current drug development pipeline. We provided guidelines for how iGEM teams can act to further the progress of bacterial therapeutics and synthetic biology in general. As a result of our research, we performed additional experiments, providing an example of how careful experimental design can help research teams better anticipate and navigate the drug development process.
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Revision as of 03:36, 27 October 2012

Penn 2012 iGEM Wiki

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Modular Light Dependent Expression of Cytolysin A

We are the first to utilize the pDawn YF1/FixJ system to express the ClyA hemolysin protein as a drug delivery system. We have shown that the system is capable of responding to blue light stimulus in a relatively short time span, and that the expression is entirely light dependent and is tightly controlled. We have further shown that this module is capable of operation independent of the remainder of the system, and that the pDawn system is capable of operating in non-traditional E. coli. strains such as Nissle 1917.

Modular Surface Display System

We are the first to successfully utilize the INPNC membrane-bound protein to display DARPin H10-2-G3 that retains its picomolar affinity for HER2. As a result of these experiments, we have developed a INPNC surface display vector, which allows for the simple and straightforward display of a wide variety of proteins such as fluorescent proteins (mCherry, antibody mimetic proteins such as DARPin H10-2-G3, and epitope tags such as the Human influenza hemagglutinin (HA) tag.

VerifiGEM: A New Way to Test Biobricks

Our team proposed a new framework for distributing the monumental task of Biobrick verification and quality control, a process currently undertaken solely by iGEM HQ. We developed a user interface and organizational schema that would enable teams to quickly and efficiently test each others' biobricks, provide feedback, and form an ad-hoc network of laboratories that can better handle the "rush" of biobricks produced during the iGEM competition.

A Consideration of the Bench to Bedside Transition of Bacterial Therapeutics

We performed an in depth investigation of the complex interaction between scientists and the public to explain the lack of bacterial therapeutics in the current drug development pipeline. We provided guidelines for how iGEM teams can act to further the progress of bacterial therapeutics and synthetic biology in general. As a result of our research, we performed additional experiments, providing an example of how careful experimental design can help research teams better anticipate and navigate the drug development process.