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.


Yesterday Was Really Frustrating

Yesterday was rubbish. Having worked out our operons, we started the task of sorting out which DNA to order for de novo synthesis. Freddie downloaded Gene Designer and spent the entire day Not Quite Destroying His Laptop. Alex found the sequences of genes and sent them to Freddie, and I designed primers for Gibson assembly. Then I designed them again. Then I found out I’d have to design them again. Then someone pointed out (probably Tom, and I can’t believe I didn’t think of this days ago) that we didn’t need primers for Gibson assembly if we were getting the DNA synthesised for us. Now we still have to design overlap sequences of the correct length – I don’t feel like we got anywhere at all yesterday.

We kept feeling we were getting somewhere yesterday and then not quite managing it. We even skipped a lunch break, believing we were on a roll, and we weren’t, so we had a quick YouTube break later. At that point Christine walked in and found us laughing our heads off at really immature videos that really weren’t funny AT ALL (we didn’t find them funny, Christine. We were laughing because we disapproved). All that effort and everyone thinks we’re slackers. Sulk.

On the plus side, Ryan clearly isn’t a slacker because apparently he’s been staying up until ungodly hours of the night working on the wiki and it’s paying off. Good work, wiki team – it looks really neat. Hopefully it will be online by tomorrow. Then I can play with it. Press buttons ’til my heart’s content, and imagine I actually contributed towards that. Heh.

Mary B.