Hello Everyone ! I am a foundation studies student from Srishti school of art design and technology. I have always been interested in science, but never excelled in the theory school exams that much. I loved doing science experiments and have always wondered about how I can make a difference to the world with the power of science. with iGem I hope to be able to discover and create interesting things and have fun at the same time.
Tuesday 24th May 2011 - Day 1
Today was our first day. Most of us were completely clueless about the technical terms. We did our basic study about DNA and RNA etc. We also discussed about a few movies we should watch based on genetics and synthetic biology. Our facilitator, Yashas and his assistant ( our senior ), Aaron spoke about the projects our seniors did to give us an idea about the direction we should be heading in.
After this very inspiring discussion Yashas gave us an assignment just to get us thinking. He told us to think about a formless living being. This was a very mindboggling exercise. I kept thinking about it and could not come up with anything. So with a low spirit i went back to my apartment. It was around 7:45 in the evening when i looked out of the window to see this amazing view of the sky. It then struck me, what if the sky was alive ! I thought about how the natural white clouds could feed on the black clouds of polluted gases and clean the air on the planet and save the earth. Here are some pictures of the same.
Wednesday 25th May 2011 - Day 2
We were introduced to this artist, Allison Kudla. Her work involves a lot of biological experimentation. She works with plant leaves and makes beautiful patterns with them. Her work reminds me of old mughal style windows. I had seen her work a while ago in a Bombay based art galley called BMB.
Then we extracted our DNA and performed our own rituals with it. We thought of our own rituals. I placed my DNA an ant and let it go away with it. I wanted my DNA to be spread all around on campus. Hence, i put my DNA on an ant.
Here's how i did it !
How to extract your DNA?
Step 1 - Gargle with salt water for 2 minutes. Step 2 - Put it inside a test tube. Step 3 - Add the liquid detergent from the side of the test tube. Step 4 - Add alcohol slowly from the side of the test tube.
How to place your DNA on an ant and let it run away
Step 5 - Run behind an ant and catch it but do not hurt it. Step 6 - Put a small stick in the test tube. Step 7 - Slowly pull out the DNA strands. Step 8 - Put the DNA strands slowly on the ant. Step 9 - Slowly leave the ant and let it run away.
Thursday 26th May 2011 - Day 3
Today, we started working on our lab which we call the "Jugaad lab". Since, we are not a science college, we do not have a biology lab. We divided ourselves into pairs and worked on two projects per pair. Pranav and I are building the gel electrophoresis and the anerobic jar. We did our research on it and were trying to figure out ways of how to make these instruments. Both of us were quite confused in the beginning. Then we found out exactly how things function and understood the working principles of both the instruments. Then we all were also making 3 microscopes with webcams. By the end of the day we figured out how to make these things but did not start making them. I hope we do a better job than our seniors. It is not very easy to figure out these things. It's very frustrating actually when you have the passion for something but you do not have resources.
Friday 27th May 2011 - Day 4
I ran to college today as i over slept a little bit. As i came to class everyone gave me the "you are late and we had to wait for you-stare". Then we were asked to answer some questions.
Q: What is life according to you? Q: Do you think you have the rights to modify a living thing? Q: What is design according to you?
THese questions really made me wonder a lot. Does anyone even know what life is? I just believe that life is a form of energy with an independent mind. When you have life you have the ability to choose your actions. When it comes to the question if anyone has the right to modify life, I strongly believe that unless we do something we would not know. So i think it is ok for me to tamper with living things as long as i do not kill them.
Well, design according to me is just a thought process. It's the ability to think functionally and aesthetically at the same time.
I do not have a lot to say about these questions but they did make me think a lot for me to come to my answers.
Saturday 28th May 2011 - Day 5
Homework assignment - Grow your own bacteria !! We researched a little bit and derived to a conclusion that you need food and a solidifying gel base for bacteria to grow. Usually agar is used but we had to do it Jugaad style. So we came to a conclusion that we should use gelatin and chicken broth to grow our bacteria. To make the gelatin we have to follow the instructions on the packet and the same for the chicken broth. Then simply add pond water and let it be. The bacteria will grow over night.
Monday 30 May 2011 - Day 6
The class watched the movie GATTACA. It's a brilliant movie about the discrimination that may exist in the future genetically engineered world.
Assignment - using a part from partsregistry.org to imagine a useful form of life. I had no idea what to work on. The ideas i got were completely useless and i was very low. Then some wierd smell started to fill the room. It came from the workshop. Then i got my idea ! I thought, what if farts did not smell like they do and disgust people! So i researched a little bit and found a part which generated the fragrance of apple.
BBa_K395602 produces MpAAT1 enzyme that catalyzes production of 2-methylbutyl acetate and butyl acetate from 2-methylbutanol and butanol. 2-methylbutyl acetate and butyl acetate that has an apple fragrance. So if we injected this part in e.coli and consumed it. It would probably make our farts smell like apple!
A Glimpse Of The Future
This is a presentation Pranav and me made in order to demonstrate our ideas of the future after the bio-bricks are actually used in the world.
We also had to dress up like a future scientist. Here is an image attached below.