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Attributions: Alexa Garcia, Christian Richardson

Gold Medal

  1. Help any registered iGEM team from another school or institution by, for example, characterizing a part, debugging a construct, or modeling or simulating their system
    We have collaborated with several other registered iGEM teams, providing and receiving assistance in various aspects of our projects. Such collaborations include:
    • WPI iGEM Team - We performed confocal microscopy data collection for the WPI iGEM team, to aid with the characterization of their parts

    • Tufts iGEM Team - Both the MIT and Tufts iGEM teams administered surveys in order to obtain public opinion on certain aspects of our projects. We handed out a proportion of the Tufts iGEM’s surveys, and they in turn distributed several copies of our survey. This aided both teams by increasing the number and diversity of respondents and making the data collected more representative of the general population.
  2. iGEM projects involve important questions beyond the bench, for example relating to (but not limited to) ethics, sustainability, social justice, safety, security, or intellectual property rights. Describe an approach that your team used to address at least one of these questions. Evaluate your approach, including whether it allowed you to answer your question(s), how it influenced the team’s scientific project, and how it might be adapted for others to use (within and beyond iGEM). We encourage thoughtful and creative approaches, and those that draw on past Policy & Practice (formerly Human Practices) activities.
    Q: How will we deliver our system into the human body?
    A:    As mentioned before, we contacted various professionals and they helped guide our decisions with their opinions and insights into the current state of Alzheimer’s research. However, our project is ultimately one that must be generally acceptable to its users (and the public as a whole) for it to serve its purpose.
           We were contemplating several possible delivery strategies, each of which had its own technical pros and cons. However, what we sorely lacked was the point of view of the general public - how would an Alzheimer’s patient feel about receiving our therapeutics? In what manner would he/she prefer to be treated?
           To address this, we designed a public opinion survey, which aimed to determine what method of delivery would cause the least public outcry and be able to be administered as a therapeutic to the largest majority of people. The survey data was useful and provided results akin to those we expected. In general, people are more comfortable with less invasive methods of delivery. This lead to design decisions for our project that are compatible with viral delivery to neurons, that would be (theoretically) administered via blood injection.
           This survey could be easily modified and used for any project considering the public opinion of their research/science. It includes several set-up and gating questions, and is short, simple and quick. More details about our survey may be found here.

Silver Medal

  1. Experimentally validate that at least one new BioBrick part or device of your own design and construction works as expected
    We have verified that the miR 125b high sensor works as expected - supporting data can be found here.
  2. Document the characterization of this part in the “Main Page” section of that part’s/device’s Registry entry
    We have documented our miR 125b high sensor and all supporting data on the Main Parts Page of the iGEM Parts Registry, as seen here.
  3. Submit this new part to the iGEM Parts Registry
    We have submitted the miR 125b high sensor to the iGEM Parts Registry
  4. iGEM projects involve important questions beyond the bench, for example relating to (but not limited to) ethics, sustainability, social justice, safety, security, or intellectual property rights. Articulate at least one question encountered by your team, and describe how your team considered the(se) question(s) within your project. Include attributions to all experts and stakeholders consulted.
    Q: How will we deliver our system into the human body?
    A:   This question arose at the beginning of our research journey, and continued to affect the direction of our project over the subsequent months. As a potential therapy for Alzheimer’s disease, our system would have to somehow be inserted into the human body. We considered several aspects of this process, and though we would never be performing it ourselves, we sought to design our system such that the safest, most effective, and most publicly acceptable method of delivery would be used.
          We began by interviewing professionals in the field of neuroscience and Alzheimer’s disease (see Interviews). Armed with the industry opinion and our own research, we designed various methods of delivery and considered the pros and cons of each.
          We also considered the necessity of public approval of the system for it to be effective as a therapeutic. This led to the formulation of our public opinion survey.
          Ultimately, these considerations aided us in designing the system that we have developed. We targeted the path of neuron delivery, but also explored numerous other delivery options.

Bronze Medal

  1. Register the team
    We are a registered iGEM team
  2. Complete Judging form
    We have completed all required information on the Judging Form
  3. Create and share a description of the team's project using the iGEM wiki and the team's parts using the Registry of Standard Biological Parts
    We have created a team wiki and submitted our parts to the Registry
  4. Present a poster and a talk at the iGEM Jamboree
    We have prepared a poster and a talk, both of which we will present at the Jamboree
  5. The description of each project must clearly attribute work done by the students and distinguish it from work done by others, including host labs, advisors, instructors, sponsors, professional website designers, artists, and commercial services
    We have compiled a complete list of attributions
  6. Document at least one new standard BioBrick part or device used in your project/central to your project and submit this part to the iGEM Registry
    We have created, documented and submitted a variety of new parts (see our Parts page)