Welcome to the NRP UEA iGEM 2012 Wiki Lab Book

Please choose the relevant link to access our diary of that week!

Week Zero | Week One | Week Two | Week Three | Week Four | Week Five | Week Six | Week Seven | Week Eight | Week Nine | Week Ten | Week Eleven | Lab Protocols | Experiments

This page refers to the time before iGEM officially started (i.e the Wellcome Trust funding start date). Within, this time, we had many group meetings which became more frequent as the start day approached. We did not do any wet lab work in this time, only research and throwing around ideas.

Initial Planning (03/12 - 05/12)

In the early weeks of the project, we met up a few times a month to discuss the runnings of iGEM, what the project would involve and our commitment to the iGEM competition. We also read through and discussed other team's projects from previous years to find out what we were interested to do as a project this years.

In general these meetings were to prepare us for the official start of iGEM, so we understood what the competition was about, the scope of other projects and to get us to think about what kind of a project we wanted to do. We discussed the E.chromi project of Cambridge 2009, Edinburgh 2009's Landmine sensor, and many others.

Project Planning (05/12 - 06/12)

Closer to the start date, we decided we wanted to build a project based around the expertise of UEA and the NRP and learn from our predecessors. We realised that a plant project would not realistically fit within a ten week project if any mistakes were made or major challenges faced. After much consideration, we decided upon a project on NO (Nitric Oxide) sensing within a bacterial chassis.

We thought NO was particularly interesting due to the wide number of environments it is involved in and hence a NO sensor could be widely applied. Within these weeks we were fortunate to have a number of speakers, who were involved in the research of NO. These talks gave us a better understanding of some of the challenges surrounding the sensing of NO. Among these problems, we wanted to improve the flexibility of the sensor and also the specificity.

Tackling one problem at a time, we designed a hybrid promoter combining a mammalian promoter which has 9 CArG elements and PyeaR from bacterial cells. As we did not know how the individual promoters would affect the cell, we designed the hybrid promoter to have BamH1 between the two promoters. This would allow us to restrict and separate the two. In addition to this, we sent off the hybrid promoter for synthesis in two orientations; one where the bacterial PyeaR is upstream of CArG and the other reversed.

Human Practice Planning (06/12-07/12)

With genes sent off for synthesis and no lab space yet, we turned our minds to the criteria for the medals. As most of the criteria were aimed at work on BioBricks, we looked at the human practice element of the gold medal. We decided upon the creation of a film and to do this, we wanted to collaborate with an artist who had shown interest in iGEM and contacted us. Besides discussion about the film, we contacted a local school to organise a lesson with year 7 children and also a radio show interview. Within these few weeks we also put together a proposal for grants from the Biochemical society to fund for the artist and also the Enterprise Fund to fund for lab consumables and travel expenses. We later found that our proposals were accepted and we had received the grants.