Three winning teams
Beginning January 24th, Ginkgo welcomed dozens of students from Mexico and Peru, all winners of iGEM Design League’s 2021 Jamboree, to Boston for a week of events. These teams designed synthetic biology solutions to local problems and were selected by iGEM Design League, which seeks to enable Latin American students to design with biology and propose solutions to global and local problems through a synthetic biology framework. In 2021, Ginkgo sponsored the championship prize for the inaugural winning teams and provided each with direct mentorship, DNA synthesis to test their projects, and a trip to Boston where they would gain exposure to synthetic biology in action. The winning teams, two from Mexico and one from Peru, tackled issues including food waste, pesticide and healthcare.
Upon arrival, the three winning teams from 2021 were given tours of Ginkgo by members of LaB+ (our Employee Resource Group for LatinX and Hispanic Bioworkers) and others to see our Foundries and meet with Bioworkers. Students then presented their projects internally for us to learn more about the students as well as give them an opportunity to hone their presentation skills.
In Partnership with iGEM Design League and Latinos in Bio
After touring Ginkgo, students and Bioworkers moved to District Hall for a panel jointly hosted by Latinos in Bio and iGEM Design League titled Accessing Careers in the Life Sciences. Reshma Shetty, our co-founder and COO, opened the event with comments about Ginkgo’s approach to DEI and her own experience founding a company. She then opened the floor to open questions before turning the stage over to the panel. Moderated by Andrew Rodriguez, former Head of Business Development, MilliporeSigma, the panel featured: Rogerio Vivaldi, CEO, Sigilon Therapeutics; Carolina Alarco, Founder and Principal, Bio Strategy Advisors; Gisselle Perez, Head of HR of the Intercontinental Region, Biogen; Geronimo Martinez, Director Internal Audit, Biogen; and Rocio Aguilar Suarez, Research Scientist, from Ginkgo Bioworks Basel team. Students from MIT, Harvard, BU and Northeastern University also attended along with members of the local Latinos in Bio community for a night of networking.
Syn Bio Capital Tour
Billed as a tour of the Syn Bio Capital, students were taken to visit Synlogic and Salvia’s corporate headquarters, and met with Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT, Katie Galloway, who led a tour of Media Labs and facilitated demonstrations with her team including Adam Beitz, Pablo Cardenas, Ceili Peng, Stefan Golas, Rick Wierenga, and Kenney Cox. The event closed off with a tour of Harpoon Brewery, our local employee-owned brewery, including a private conversation with their Assistant Vice President of Quality Control, Jaime Schier, who gave students background on how yeasts used to create signature flavors were discovered and incorporated.
Our intention with supporting this trip and iGEM Design League is to continue to support indigenous talent and build out the network of scientists that will be the future of synthetic biology. Moreover, we were able to connect members of LaB+ as well as the local community to strengthen the presence of Latinos not just at Ginkgo, but across the syn bio community in Boston and abroad. As iGEM Design League expands to include Leagues for Indonesia, North Africa/Middle East and others, we will continue to look for ways to engage and support access to synthetic biology across the globe.
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