iGEM McMaster’s Wet Lab team is responsible for planning and carrying out the experimental components of each year’s project.
At the core of our iGEM team lies our sense of curiosity and our passion for synthetic biology. These ideals all come to fruition in the wet lab setting, where we can test our hypotheses. Our iGEM team prides itself on our collaboration with notable McMaster faculty, as well as our ability to teach undergraduate students how to become effective researchers.
The members of the wet lab are dedicated, passionate, and tireless seekers of challenges and answers with the flexibility to overcome obstacles and grow from errors. They collaborate with junior and senior mentors to define and fulfill the project direction, goals, and experimental approaches.
Prokaryotic organisms are powerful laboratory tools and form the backbone of synthetic biology. They can be incredibly useful in producing gene products, but also allow us to study the complexities of gene product formation. Producing functional proteins in a cell is dependent on the synthesized protein folding into a unique, thermodynamically stable, structure. However, there are times when proteins mis-fold or unfold and end up forming structures between separate proteins, leading to macromolecular aggregates. Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s involve the buildup of insoluble protein deposits known as amyloids.
iGEM McMaster’s project this year will be to express human amyloid beta protein in E. coli as a method for studying the molecular basis of aggregation. Prior to insertion, we will randomly mutagenize amyloid beta using error-prone PCR to generate a library. A dropout screen will be used to identify the mutations that are essential for cell viability, with the basis that aggregation due to wildtype amyloid beta is detrimental to the bacterial cells. The screen involves inserting the mutant library into E. coli where it can be expressed. After a period of growth, the sequence distribution of the amyloid beta gene mutant library will be characterized using Next-Gen Sequencing (NGS).
Find out about the Wet Lab team's current project here.