Woohh … That was an awesome moment when I heard the news that I have been selected for iGEM Peshawar 2016. iGEM is an International synthetic biology competition held every year in Boston, USA, among the best undergrad students from all over the world. Each team of students spends the summer creating new genetic circuits and biological systems for purposes ranging from addressing global issues to satisfying scientific curiosity.
Synthetic biology aims to make biology easier just like engineering. Synbio is an emerging area of research that can broadly be described as the design and construction of novel artificial biological pathways, organisms or devices, or the redesign existing natural biological systems. Scientists are trying to use engineering tools to make new biological systems. They are trying to go from bottom to top to make new things from scratch using synbio, unlike traditional genetic engineering. Let me tell you Synbio is cool.
This summer I am working with a great group of students team up to make Pakistan’s first ever team, iGEM Peshawar. I am excited to connect with other iGEM teams and learn about all the amazing things going on. As for the team, everyone is hardworking and the best of his institute. I am proud that I have been the only team member from the host institute, Institute of integrative Biosciences, CECOS University.
The first week was fully a surprise pack for me as I didn’t know what would be there. So here comes the first day I met with all my other team members belonging to different domains and all of them were very nice and humble. We went through different brainstorming sessions. Gained some new knowledge about synbio, bio bricks, parts, registry and all that stuff related to iGEM. Each one of us had innovative ideas targeting local and global problems.
We deep dived into the history of Synbio and made creative posters. We had few photo shoots. We are few steps away from lab work and desperately waiting for practical work to be started. I am very excited to be the first one to work in a newly designed state of the art lab of Institute of Integrative Biosciences.
Sidra Usman, 21, Peshawar