Ed's Big Plans

Computing for Science and Awesome

Meeting with Danielle

without comments

Met with Danielle Nash, coordinator at iGEM Waterloo today. There are three branches of projects this year, first the completion of last year’s project and the introduction of one new project in two parts.

Last year’s project consists of a delivery system, wherein one introduces bacteria that have been modified so that all genomic DNA is lost. The bacteria thus function as subcellular-sized vehicles that are broken down, so that some arbitrary payload is released into a patient. The focus of the team working on this subproject is its completion; elucidation and final characterization of the system behaviour.

This year’s project consists first of a “foundational advance” submission which formally defines a consistent means to create cassettes for the exchange of genetic material between some vector and a target bacterial chromosome. This involves the definition of a new mutant strain with the homologous recombination sites, suitable for the integrase used; a well defined and consistent cassette, which one would use to enclose the biobricks or other genes of interest; and a short integrase plasmid, likely with just the gene and a promoter of some arbitrary strength. The second is an extension to this project, which defines a different chasis (target organism); this time a plant, likely arabidopsis.

David Monje Johnston immediately comes to mind; he oversaw iGem Guelph last year, in his plant agriculture lab. His advice could likely benefit the team.

What am I doing?

Well, I’ve contacted Andre Masella who currently lives and reigns at Laurier. He’s the head of modeling this year for Waterloo and has summarized the objectives as the creation of some software that will anticipate the best sequence of sites needed to ensure the highest probability of consistent exchange between the cassette and the chasis chromosome.

We’ve all settled on the idea that I would be assisting Andre, with the likelihood of coaching an undergraduate in bioinformatics software design, deployment and utility all the while.

I’m very interested in seeing the background work on this, since I have little idea of what the problem constraints are. What makes a given sequence a good sequence (high in stability, high in predictability), what makes a given sequence bad (high in variance, low likelihood of working)? I’ve written back to ask about related papers he’s worked with, seen or written.

This should be a BLAST.

Eddie Ma

May 15th, 2009 at 9:14 am