Sanya Rai Gupta
Who and Why?
3rd Year Student, Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology
What draws me to the IGEM is that whole idea of venturing out to explore something seemingly alien and distant from our usual workspace/ playgrounds. It seems bizarre and virtually impossible to be doing what we are setting out to do, but therein lies the challenge and the fun! And the cool part lies in the fact that we have not been 'programmed' by specializations to follow any kind of structure!
15th May 2009
- Scientific diagram and DNA code guide for Plastico Collectilus (mock idea for new bacteria)
- Illustration of how the Plastico Collectilus works.
16th, 17th, 19th May 2009
So far so good. We have a few ideas and some idea about how to go about TRYING to make them work. Also, the exposure we are getting to different departments of NCBS, is slowly, but surely helping me absorb technical knowledge, which I'm sure will gradually start making sense. We have been meeting a lot of interesting people everyday - discussing with them not just what they have to share with us with respect to their fields of expertise but also discussing general as well as art & design specific issues - which gives us a different perspective towards things like ethics, color etc.
27th May 2009
I THINK we are slightly stuck! Ideas are supposed to be pouring in from all ends right now - and that is just not happening! We really need to make our geosmin idea cooler i.e. if we do work on it. Any ideas anyone? My mind is hovering around light triggers, navigation, and sound equalizers...but I'm not quite sure how unique or exciting or manageable any of these could be!
Looking at other college blogs and previous years' presentations has kind of helped in getting a hang of how things need to progress...but main point still being - we need to get going! Maybe, looking at the parts in the registry and going over them in class might be a good idea to get em grey cells moving??
28th May 2009
So, we saw Avni's bioart piece today - I'm not sure if I should call it a piece, work, chick, exhibit, or anything for that matter. More than the point Avni made with the 'chicken in the kaleidoscope' - about science and art having a justification for any damn thing as long it serves their purpose, it brought back to surface the whole issue of ethics involved with the iGEM. We justify ourselves by saying it's worth the risk...but would this justification have been just as easy as it is if we had been dealing with an organism which we actually encounter in our lives 'physically'? I think not. I think I'll stop here.
8th June 2009
Work has started in full steam. Navneet is being highly patient and tolerant with us and our paparazzi-like tendencies! We started working with the iGEM supplied BioBricks and are trying to introduce a promoter into a lysis gene and see what happens. Lots of learning is happening. Good part is that I have finally started properly grasping most of the concepts and practices we are dealing with. While talking to a friend of mine - a biotechnology student at Purdue, we were discussing the process of gel electrophoresis and some lab techniques and to my delight - I could actually hold my own throughout the discussion - sometimes even surpassing the poor to-be-engineer! Haha. This just goes to show that science is not as unreachable and non-conquerable as it is made out to be!
9th June 2009
Things are picking up more and more speed and the seriousness of the nature of work is also escalating. This feels good. We have created a time-line for the next couple of days with Navneet and it appears to be quite interesting as well as intensive.
We also got the chance to interact with a team member of the Pune iGEM team and had a discussion about all indian teams forming a forum and exchanging ideas. Neha has already set up a GoogleGroup for the same and it was exciting to see that we already have 15 people on roll on the group site!
This apart, the urgency to rope in sponsors for our travel and stay for the Jamboree is also increasing. We will need to come up with something soon, while making sure our work does not suffer. I spoke to my Uncle and he has graciously offered to contribute a thousand rupees for the cause - this got me thinking - if we can get friendly donations like this from 20-30 people - even that could go a long way for us! What say everyone?!
11th June 2009
Failure. Right in our faces today. But that's how we will learn right?? Except I'm not entirely sure where exactly we went wrong - but maybe tomorrow, we should try and not hurry things up and also take turns - not forming a crowd at each step...plus we need to be clean!!!
It seems that Boston is impressed with our activities till now...awesome..but are they judging us taking into consideration that we are artists/designers trying to experiment outside their 'world' or as just any iGEM team? I would rather we got reviews based on the latter (at least for now!. I would really like to know that - it will give us an idea as that would help us understand where we really stand...this IS a competition after all!
Yes, I feel cynical today - as is obvious...but I would rather call this line of thinking realism rather than pessimism.
Sponsors...ah! That is one part of our task-chart I'm really looking forward to! It makes our project very comprehensive indeed - science, design, public relations - the works! On a more serious note - I think we ought to start putting together a mock presentation for reference purposes and keep adding/editing the content.
13th June 2009
Today we were short-handed - slightly! So, we decided to clear out things in our heads and put them out here. Issue in question? What exactly have we been doing in the lab and why? Will anyone viewing our blog understand properly? Nope.
We had an animated discussion in class - came to the conclusion that we need the Navneet's advice and approval before we actually pass off half-baked half-known information as facts on our wiki. Till then - our journals are our only pages.
So what exactly have we been doing???
We started by extracting the dry DNA BioBricks out of the assembly kit sent by MIT. We inserted them into E.coli along with Ampicillin- resistance gene and allowed colonies to grow.
22nd June 2009
Haha, turns out we don't have any successful plasmids! Neither does navneet..so it may be a problem with an enzyme we used..so a new one has been ordered- arriving wednesday - let's see!
Good news? We finally started working like a team! Friday - when we did our last plasmid prep., it was awesome working together in perfect harmony and comedy..hehe. On a slightly more serious note - after doing all that we have done in the past three weeks - i think i might have 'some' idea about what kind of protocol we need to follow, the equipment to use and the patience and calmness required, all of which I'm sure will prove to be useful as we proceed.
We now plan to work on our presentation, a more design - oriented job, so to speak. College reopens in less than two weeks now - time just flew by! Some figuring out will have to be done as to how and when we meet and work on this once regular classes commence...