Written By: Ronit Langer, iGEM Ambassador for North America
SEED 2019 took place at the Midtown Hilton in New York City from June 23rd-27th. There were four keynote speakers: Jack Szostak from Harvard University, Reshma Shetty from Ginkgo Bioworks, June Medford from Colorado State University and Jef Boeke from New York University. There were two poster sessions with over 250 posters presented between the two sessions. The posters ranged from basic research to high level application of synthetic biology tools. The approximately 300 attendees at SEED came from 37 different countries, highlighting the global reach of synthetic biology.
I presented a poster for After iGEM entitled “After iGEM: A Model of Synthetic Biology Community and Ecosystem Building”. The poster discussed the incredible entrepreneurial spirit of iGEM, as well as the success of the Delegate and Ambassador programs. Everyone who I spoke to was excited about the work being done by iGEM, many of them were iGEM alumni themselves. However, very few people were familiar with After iGEM. This disparity highlights the importance of Ambassador and Representative engagement at these events.
Monday night I hosted an After iGEM Meetup to bring together iGEM Alumni in NYC, members of HQ who were also attending SEED, and stakeholders from SEED. The event, while small, created an opportunity for these communities to come together and share their experience.