igem

International genetics competition where the Carnegie Mellon team won more awards than any other undergraduate team.  


GOALS 

We set challenges for ourselves in and out of the laboratory. Within the walls of Mellon Institute, we wanted develop improvements and new research in the areas of endocrine disruptors, fluorescence detectors, and inteins.  Outside of the lab, it was our goal to educate and collaborate with our scientific colleagues, as well as inspire and promote curosity within our community.   

problem space

Our summer research work created a biosensor to detect trace amounts of endocrine disruptors in fresh water. Additionally, our outreach and community service allowed us to work with students fellow scientists, teachers and community members. We our taught novel educational activities to over 300 students from local schools. 

MY ROLE

I co-led all community programs for the Carnegie Mellon iGEM team included planning teaching sessions to over 300 students in local public schools, designing educational activities, presenting at workshops, and organizing a day-long conference for four other teams from the region. In addition, I was responsible for co-designing a custom microfluidics chamber to house our biosensor.  


our team

Carnegie Mellon won more awards than any other undergraduate team, including the Gold Medal Achievement Award, an Interlab Study Award, and the Best Poster Award. Our seven person team was comprised of students from the fields of: biology, electrical computer engineering, public policy, biomedical engineering, material science, business, and design. 


Scientific Work

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About

Our seven-person team competed against 2,000+ students in the 2014 competition. We were the most interdisciplinary team and one of only two teams to have representation from the Arts. 

 
 

Biosensor

I was responsible for communicating our concepts to our scientific and general community,  developing educational activities to promote understanding emerging STEM fields, and co-design a custom microfluidics chamber to house our biosensor. 

 

 
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Technology

Because communicating the complexities of our project was essential to working with other iGEM teams, researchers in STEM, and our general community, I translated our system into a graphic story. 

This allowed for a dialog to exist with non-scientists and also the many scientists that were not familiar with some recently discovered technology we implemented into our work. 

 

 
Caption

Caption

 

Implementation

I was responsible for communicating our concepts to our scientific and general community,  developing educational activities to promote understanding emerging STEM fields, and co-design a custom microfluidics chamber to house our biosensor. 


community outreach

Creature Feature

Created by myself and a fellow teammate, creature feature is a synthetic biology modeling lab which engages students into the hands-on construction of “creatures” according to a genomic sequence. It works to educate on the principles of synthetic biology, evolution, and genetics, and excites students them with candy “features” and an engineering challenge. 

We were able to run our Creature Feature activity with the iGEM team to over 500 students in our local community with great success, and are working in a continuous partnership with Carnegie Mellon's DNA Zone to have the kits fully accessible to teachers. 

 

Improvements

After doing our own user testing and identifying the problems, we incorporated a new method that made it faster, easier, and more accessible. One of my jobs for the team was to create takeaway instruction sets which could go in our new classroom kits, and could be handed out during our community outreach sessions. 

 
 

symposium

Part of my responsibilities was to plan one of the seven iGEM meet-ups held in the United States. The teams that attended our day-long conference included: the University of Michigan, Pennsylvania State University, University of Pittsburgh, and Montgomery High School (junior team). My responsibilities included: contacting all teams, coordinating spaces, communication with iGEM Nationals, transportation, food, and planning the day's activities. 

 
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