Summertime is a busy time for synthetic biology. One of the core activities in this rapidly growing field is an annual undergraduate competition known as iGEM (the International Genetically Engineered Machines competition). For a 10-week period over the summer, teams of students work together to design, build and test biological systems using Standard Biological Parts (called ‘BioBricks’). The teams are highly interdisciplinary, usually involving engineers, biologists, and bioinformaticians. Over the past couple of years, sociologists and designers have also joined some of the teams — with some interesting and creative results (see e.g. http://www.echromi.com/).
Wednesday, 11 August 2010
The Second Annual Gengage Conference - New frontiers in teaching genetics – provided an opportunity for training and shared learning around public engagement and healthcare genetics in Scotland. Over 100 delegates, including biology teachers, upper year students and Gengage members, gathered at the John McIntyre Conference Centre, University of Edinburgh, on 15 June 2010 for a day of talks and interactive workshops.
The plenary presentations addressed current and future trends in genetics, including the effects genes have on our health; the development of a treatment for Pompe disease, recently fictionalised in the Harrison Ford film, Extraordinary Measures; and the implications of technological developments for the patient attending a genetic clinic.