Team:Cambridge/Diary/Week 5


Revision as of 16:41, 26 October 2012 by Olijme (Talk | contribs)

Week: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 The Final Month



Still no luck on the primers front. Now it looks like we might have to wait a couple of days before they can even be sure we're not bioterrorists. Unfortunately that puts quite a crimp in our experimental plans, since every experiment for the next few weeks requires PCR and, therefore, primers. We will just have to find something else to do in the mean time.

We can still design the things though, so that's what we did. After last weeks debarcle, we're designing them in groups of two to prevent mishaps. Not hugely efficient, but if it stops us from having to waste three days on useless PCR, it's well worth doing.

The template for the wiki was finalized and put up, after considerable pain on Emmy's part. Now every page looks as shiney as our home page.

And we finally have a name- B. SUBTILIGHTS!


It was a beautiful day in Cambridge today (and indeed across the whole United Kingdom, thanks to the Jet Stream slumping Northwards), so we took our work outside. This may have affected our productivity a little, but I think that given our present capabilities, a bit of a break may be a good thing.

Alas, another day of wiki and administration. Potential sponsors were contacted, pages were updated, pictures were drawn, and we did everything we could that wasn't actual biology. This primer dearth is really limiting our ability to do anything useful, extremely frustrating...

We did, however, manage to order some primers, so those should arrive in around two days (assuming GCHQ don't apprehend the package).

Oh, and more work on the Arduino. Apparently we're going to try and make it work with Android.


No primers, no experiments, no life...


The hardware implementation has progressed significantly this morning. Andreas has put most of parts together as well as paying some attention to the aesthetics of it. Photos can be seen in Lab book. We're currently just waiting for a mechanical shaft coupler from the Engineering Department (our own design, of course). With the coupler our device will be driven automatically by a motor connected to our Arduino. The software needs to be completed as well. There is the thought of using the Amarino application that is open-source together with a bluetooth adaptor so that the measurements of our device are received wirelessly at an Android phone. It's cool, isn't it?

Primers also finally arrived, and we got straight down to business, vowing to have all the PCR reactions we had designed finished by the end of the day. Curiously, adding master mix to registry parts makes them turn purple, making the somewhat alchemical nature of the process even more arcane. This also gave us the opportunity to use our extremely elegant PCR machine, which as can be seen in the gallery is quite the Delorean of the PCR world.


After the 32 PCR reactions from yesterday, the 5 gels that had to be run to separate the products seemed like easy work. Looks like we got some reasonable results; certainly the Mg2+ riboswitch products that we had hoped to make last week are pretty much working. Something like 70 - 80% of our products seem to have been produced, most of the failures being the huge vector fragments. We will try to rerun those next week.

Those gels that were sucessful were cut up and purified. We should be able to begin some Gibson reactions next week.

We also got alot of parts ordered from the registry. Apparently the ones we want don't come with the distribution kit, something that we might want to raise in some way with the iGEM organizers.

Oh, and the London Olympics had its opening ceremony today. Sadly, no direct reference to the Plant Sciences Department of Cambridge by Mr. Boyle. Despite all the people in the team having as much to do with the success of the games as, say, our PCR machine, we can still cry 'Go team GB! And associated territories (cf. Cyprus, Hong Kong)!'