It’s been over a month since I last put a post up, but I swore that if I didn’t have time I would make sure I blogged something after the wiki-freeze. Actually it’s a bit misleading to imply I haven’t had any time, I took two weeks off on the advice of a Doctor, two Professors and My Mum (you don’t ignore advice like that). Boy am I glad I did – iGEM life has been mental when I’ve not been taking time off it. I’d be misleading you again if I didn’t mention that I loved it anyway.


The last two weeks I spent in the lab (I call them Jill and Melinda) were chaotic. In a whirlwind of determined fourth attempts, unexpected successes and camaraderie, we all became slightly peculiar. There was a day when it was imperative that we spoke like farmers, and another day when we giddily carried out nearly 100 minipreps. Alex C. began to prod me conspiratorially at regular intervals. I gained a slight touch of paranoia that our faithful little E. coli which we boiled up for proteins would return from the dead on a destructive path of vengeance. Freddie and I once lost it completely and giggled wildly at Ryan because he was sitting on a chair. Ryan then made it his artistic pursuit to sit on the chair in a fashion befitting a physicist (he put his hands on his stomach and looked thoughtful). We all got disproportionately excited about running an SDS-PAGE. It all seemed reasonable at the time.


The preparation for the wiki-freeze was a similar experience, but since it was mostly carried out on computers from different locations, the hysteria was expressed more through YouTube videos and memes, which Ryan does as a matter of course anyway (it occurs to me that Ryan does a lot of things as a matter of course). I hope Ryan spends most of today in bed – he got very little sleep while putting the wiki together. Tom probably shouldn’t get out of bed either, I think the left-til-last-minute stress may have been too much for him.


What do I do with myself now? I’m expected to settle into uni life again? What is this?! I can’t cope with the inconsistency: a day should consist of going to the lab and seeing how long you can stay and how much you can achieve before you automatically get locked into a separate corridor from your house keys. On the plus side, we go to Amsterdam in a weeks time so it isn’t over yet, and what’s more I have a third year project in which, I am told, I will be taught cloning and PCR…heh heh heh.



Mary B.



I haven’t posted on this blog for about a week. This is about to be rectified with a really long post.

I made a rather unfortunate but largely unavoidable mistake last week by being absent for half of it to instead commit my precious time to such frivolous and inane things as making dresses. Having heard me griping about The Dress for several weeks and having had to put up with hearing about How Much Effort It Is, my faithful iGEM friends promptly agreed in the Friday meeting that I would have the hardest labwork. Tom optimistically told me that at least my part of the project had the most glory attached to it. He also told me I had to persuade a non-bioscientist to be my lab partner. Ryan chose that moment to walk into the room. Fool. If I must go down, he is coming with me. Ha. Ha ha ha.

On another note, having spent…how long was it? A week and a half? Let’s say a week and a half for the sake of argument. Having spent a week and a half messing around with Gibson primers, having to remake them as the project changed course slightly several times and undertaking the laborious process of double-checking them, Tom has been to Paris for the big teachers’ meeting and discovered that Gibson is not the rosy, angelic road of opportunity we thought. How we have been mislead. So it’s clear, as Tom said, that there isn’t enough data on Gibson or biobricking to make a clear judgement between the two. Since biobricks are the accepted format for iGEM, we’re mostly using that, and we also want to produce a proper comparison of Gibson and biobrick as a little side project. May it be our legacy to later iGEM generations. Assuming my part of the project works. Which I pessimistically feel is unlikely.

I could write much more, but I spontaneously feel I must do something else. Possibly talk to Tom, since Alex has just confused me again and now I really don’t know what we need for primers. Time to go discover my direction in life.

Mary B.