BE.109:Advanced bacterial photography

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Contents

Goal

Give students hands-on experience working with an engineered genetically encoded device while also training them to think about how to engineer biology.

System

  • UT Austin light->lacZ system (with additional colors?)
  • Alternate: sender-receiver device (from BC)
  • Alternate: inverter (from RS)

Experiment

  1. Explore the robustness of the system to different operating conditions (i.e. media, growth phase, growth temperature, light intensity/wavelength, strain background or anything else.)
  2. Choose the measurement technique used to characterize the device (i.e. flow cytometry, microscopy, RT-PCR, quantitative Northerns, quantitative Westerns etc.) The measurement technique might vary depending on the condition the student wanted to test? Ideally could measure DNA, RNA and protein (e.g. det'n plasmid copy #, transcript # and protein conc)
  3. Based on their experimental results, students could propose a redesign of the system to obtain novel or improved behavior. This would give the students some design experience as well. Long term goal could be to model and predict outcome then test model experimentally and refine. Modeling could tie in with BE.180, BE.181 or BE.320.
  4. Alternative plan: students could model how they expect the system to behave and then design and execute an experiment to test the validity of their model. However, this might be a more ambitious project to carry out.

Writeup

Students could write up their work and enter it into the MIT parts registry. To avoid cluttering registry with unwanted or poorly described part, could sequester student work to separate part of registry (perhaps as "BBa_BEzzzz part numbers).

Discussion

Such a project has several advantages

  1. students are exposed to any of several lab techniques
  2. students formulate the experiment (what variables do they think would influence performance and how should they measure device behavior)
  3. students should still be able to get a cool picture under "prescreened conditions"
  4. students generate useful data/information that they could enter into the registry and sign their name to ... i.e. they've done something that others will use down the line.

Related information

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