Team:Groningen/Summerschool report


From our reporters

Iris, Meintje and Froukje followed the iGEM Summerschool 2012. Read what they did below!
Click here to read this page in Dutch/klik hier om deze pagina in het Nederlands te lezen

By Iris Beldhuis

On Wednesday the 22nd of August, all participants of the Summer school where expected at the main entrance of the Linnaeusborg at the Campus of the University of Groningen. The theme of the next three days would be synthetic biology.

After a short presentation on Tuesday, we got a tour through the building and the lab of iGEM Groningen. After the lunch, we immediately started different practica. We did the “hand-wash-experiment”. For this experiment, you had to put your fingerprint on an agar plate 4 times. The first time, you had do it without washing your hands, the second time after two minutes washing with soap, the third time after putting your finger in ethanol for 3 minutes, and the last time was after the whole lab day. The results were fun to look at in the microscope!

After looking at different micro-organisms at the microscope, we went on with the meat test. We were divided into groups, which would measure the hygiene of one type of meat (or another food product) by diluting and spreading 1 gram of meat over agar plates. We checked the results at Friday morning: the group from Ameland with their herring had more than 250 colonies on plate upto the 3rd dilution. When we calculated this back to the norms, it appeared that the herring was in the critical zone, but not yet officially bad. The ham of the other groups were far out of date and full of bacteria. After these tests we could go home to meet again the next day at the Central Station.

Thursday morning we got a very interesting tour and short presentation in the University Medical Centre of Groningen. We saw how the Pathology lab works with different tissues. After this, we lunched with different researchers and the iGEM team. After a few discussions, we got a presentation from Sjoerd van der Meulen, a Phd student at the Molecular Genetics group. After the presentation, we got into the lab to get the tests from the day before out of the stove and have a look.

The last day we immediately went to the lab to look at the results of our experiments. We looked at the different types of bacteria which came from the herring, the ham and Yakult®. After the TAMC-determination we decided that all the food was not edible anymore. Or at least, it wouln’t be a smart idea to do so. After this, we discussed our results and had lunch. After some card games we got the time to write something about the three days and went to the Noorderzon festival. Here, we went to the Sciencelinx exhibition. After this, we had dinner at the festival with the whole group.

I had a few interesting and fun days at iGEM Groningen!

By Froukje Russchen

On 22, 23 and 24 August, we took part of the iGEM Summerschool 2012 together with seven high school students from the north of the Netherlands. The iGEM team, which is engaging in microbiology, is also busy with a project during the summer holidays. The goal if this project is letting bacteria do things with the use of genetical modification. For instance, bacteria which can solve sudoku’s or fluorescent bacteria. The students are part of an international competition in which they compete against teams of the whole world.

Next to this project, the team also organizes a three-day summer school for interested high school students. In this three days, we, the interested high school students, did experiments with bacteria and we took samples from pieces of meat, which we took from home, to test if we could still eat it of if it was spoiled. This was a lot of microscopy work, which was very interesting. We tested ham, which was a few days over the due date, and herring, which was one day over the due date.

We were assisted by students in the last year of their Master study. Because they were students, we got a good view of what it would be like to study biology. Next to the experiments, we also got a tour through the Linnaeusborg at the Campus, where we did our experiments. On the second day we got a tour by a pathologist at the laboratories of the University Medical Centre of Groningen. Here we were shown how they took samples from cancerous tissue, and how they are analyzed.

This summer school was meant to teach students about microbiology and studying in Groningen. But also for students who are more interested in medical studies, this days were very interesting. The last day, we went to the festival Noorderzon and had dinner together.

The days were very instructive and give me a better view of what I want to study. So this is recommended for everyone who likes biology!

By Meintje de Vries

Together with Science Linx, the iGEM team of the University of Groningen organized a summer school for the first time. At school I got a letter with this information, and I was immediately interested. I am going into my last year at high school, so I have to write a final thesis, and in this way I hoped to find some ideas for that.

I was very curious about the three days. Through email, I already saw a program which made me very curious. We started with a presentation. We got information about the team, the competition, the project the team is working on and synthetic biology. After this we got a tour through the building. Because it was still the holiday period, it was very quiet and we could look around without disturbing people. After the lunch, we started with the practicals. I really liked this, because we could bring our own meat or other food products to test whether the food was spoiled or not. During the practicals I worked a lot with the microscope, which I liked a lot too, because we never do practicals at school.

At Thursday we started at the University Medical Centre of Groningen, here we got a “behind the scenes” view at the pathology department. This department investigates diseases: they try to find out what kind of disease a patient has. We got a tour from a pathology. He told us a lot about his work field and explained a lot about the materials which were used at an investigation. I was very surprised that we were allowed to see so much and was impressed by the way everything worked.

The third and last day we had a look at our experimental results and talked about that. It was fun to see the results, because there where big differences between them. After this, we went to the Noorderzon festival. This is a big theatre festival in Groningen. The University of Groningen had a stand together with other schools and organizations in a huge cube. We could go inside, it was a kind of science centre where you could do all kinds of tests around the theme “human+”. After that, we had dinner together.

It was a lot of fun with everyone, I had three great holiday days!