To cap an exceptional week (Gobama!), over 1000 students, advisors, and other interested parties are arriving at MIT for the annual iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machines) competition this weekend. Over eighty teams will be presenting the results of the projects they have been working on feverishly all summer (and right up until late last night in many cases). Tonight, at the Stata Center at MIT, the teams are hanging their posters, practicing their talks and, in some cases, distributing team tattoos (thanks Wendell!).
All of the Ginkgo team are iGEM veterans of one form or another (founders, participants, ambassadors, or advisors). We’ll be around all weekend, although this time in a non-partial capacity as judges. We’ll try and post frequently (a first for this blog!) over the weekend to tell you about some of the interesting projects we hear about.
Too impatient to wait until tomorrow? You can already read through the websites created by each of the teams. Each team’s talk will also soon be available by video through the iGEM site.
If you’ll permit this old blogger a moment to reminisce, I remember participating in the first iGEM competition in the summer of 2004. We, the MIT team, were one of just five teams participating (along with Harvard, BU, Caltech, and UT Austin). Tonight, one hundred and fifty pizzas were ordered just to feed the teams who arrived early to practice before the real event tomorrow.
If you want to see the power of open access to information and materials, or if you want to see students excited about science, or if you just want to see exciting biological engineering, you should find a way to get to MIT this weekend.
(A tip of the hat to Randy, Meagan, Molly and Katie who work full time to make iGEM such a success along with the judges, volunteers, and of course the teams.)