Those we have collaborated with during this years competition.

Corteva Agriscience

Our Club2 team was interested in gathering potential interest in our detection system, and how potential stakeholders might integrate it with current agricultural practices. Additionally, at our university we do not have access to biosafety level 2 labs, which are required for working directly with P. brassicae and its spores. Corteva Agriscience, is an agriculture biotechnology company heavily involved in Clubroot research, and has access to facilities suitable for working directly with the pathogen. Following several meetings with Corteva representatives online, our team leads took a trip to Edmonton to tour their research facilities and discuss our system more extensively. During this trip, we were offered to test our engineered chimeric proteins in soil samples contaminated with P. brassicae in their laboratories. Considering the promising ELISA results we recently obtained, we are planning to test our system in Corteva’s facilities in the second phase of our project next season.

Amino Labs

Our Club2 team wanted to make synthetic biology accessible to students who weren’t just University Students, but those still in High School. Amino Labs, a local organization that creates at-home lab experiments for those of all ages, upholds similar values and has shared a major interest in increasing the accessibility of science. We reached out to them and proposed the idea of organizing and hosting iGEM workshops in local High Schools. They liked this idea and agreed to partner with us by providing us with a few of their at-home science kits as prizes for after our workshops.

McMaster University iGEM | 2023

In the beginning stages of our project, McMaster University reached out to us to discuss project development and the tactics our team employed during this stage. Later on, we collaborated with them on a blog post. They sent us various questions regarding our project and how our team members balance iGEM and other commitments. Our responses were made into a blog post. Sharing the tactics those from different teams use to design their projects and maintain a healthy work-life balance was interesting and provided a means for us to relate to other iGEMers outside of our team.

University of Alberta iGEM | 2023

Our Club2 team met with the University of Alberta team at the beginning of our season, and discussed our projects. Although initially they were different approaches, both of our projects aimed to address different problems related to the agriculture industry.

University of Calgary iGEM | 2023

It was a pleasure to meet the University of Calgary team on multiple occasions throughout the season. Our teams were brought together through the MindFuel competitions, where we were able to educate each other on our projects and foster meaningful connections amongst our teams. At the first MindField competition, the TechFutures Challenge, our teams went out to dinner together following the competition. There we learned more about each member’s involvement on the team, as well as about them personally. Following the second competition, the Prototype Challenge, our teams intermingled further over ice cream. Such meaningful connections were made between our teams that in July, some of our team members met up with UofC members at the Calgary Stampede. Additionally, our team had been interested in learning more about the modeling software other iGEM teams implemented, so we asked the UofC team to inform us of their practices. As their project also utilizes chimeric/fusion proteins, they kindly modeled some of our proteins for us. Furthermore, our team assessed their fusion peptide and drew comparisons with ours. Learning how they designed their proteins and of the methods they used to model them was helpful, and assisted our team in optimizing our own models.

McGill University iGEM | 2023

Our Dry Lab team had the idea of developing a standard protocol for running MD simulations by meeting with other iGEM teams and discussing their simulation practices. We reached out to all Canadian iGEM teams and McGill expressed significant interest. Throughout the process, it became evident that different projects necessitated different parameters, so our collaboration goals shifted to educating other teams on how to use modeling software and programs that they may not be familiar with. Additionally, we wanted to confirm that each other’s results were capable of replication. We exchanged data and manuals with the McGill iGEM team, and subsequently ran simulations on each other’s data using the protocols that had initially been used to optimize our own data. This allowed teams to not only ensure their results replicated as desired, but also provided teams with the chance to educate themselves on the use of software that was novel to them.

FREDSense | BiocTech company, Calgary, Alberta

Our Human Practices team consulted with FREDSense multiple times to gather more knowledge relevant to our project. Both co-founders of the company also happened to be former iGEMers and thus, were also able to provide us with additional advice regarding project presentations. Prior to attending the Jamboree and presenting our project, we met with Dr. Robert Mayall again. He offered us guidance on our final presentation and assisted us in preparing for the final Jamboree in Paris. We are very grateful to him and FREDSense for helping our team attain its full potential.


MindFuel Challenges

Our team participated in two competitions hosted by MindFuel, a charity that seeks to encourage innovation through STEM. We engaged with mentors leading up to the competition, and following our presentations we received meaningful feedback from judges that we integrated into our project. At the TechFutures Challenge we learned that our presentations had to be clearer to prevent misinterpretations. More significantly, at the Prototype Challenge concerns about the specificity of our detection system were brought up, and the judges encouraged us to reach out to FREDSense, a company that designs various biosensors, as they could assist us. Additionally, our participation in these competitions offered us the opportunity to socialize with other iGEM teams and learn of their projects for the season. Thanks to these competitions, we were able to foster meaningful connections with the University of Calgary iGEM team.

Presentation to High School Summer Research Students

Our University is lucky to host High School Summer Research students over the summer through the Heritage Youth Researcher Summer Program (HYRS). At the end of the summer, these students are tasked with presenting their research findings through a poster presentation. As many of these students have not created scientific posters before, they are unsure of where to begin. Our team wanted to help these students out and offered to create and deliver a presentation outlining iGEM and how to create a scientific poster. Following our presentation, many of the students felt more at ease and ready to begin making their final posters.

University of Lethbridge Summer Research Showcase

In addition to our mentioned presentations at the MindFuel competition and to High School Students via our workshops, our team had the opportunity to present our findings at the University of Lethbridge Summer Research Showcase. We enjoyed learning about other students’ research, as well as discussing iGEM with university faculty, administration and community members. Through this opportunity we were able to talk to the local community about the importance of creating rapid detection systems for farmers in Alberta.

Chinook Symposium

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Lethbridge hosts the yearly Chinook Symposium, where students with research in such departments can present posters and compete for awards. Both our wet lab and dry lab teams presented posters; with our dry lab poster winning the innovation award. It was rewarding sharing our most recent findings with the department, and many judges and faculty members were quite impressed with the work our team put forward this season. Once again, we were able to emphasize the importance of creating rapid detection systems for farmers in our province.

Wet Lab Chinook Poster

Figure 1.0: Wet Lab Chinook Symposium Poster

Dry Lab Chinook Poster

Figure 2.0 Dry Lab Chinook Symposium Poster