Between the 28th and 31st August, the Conference of China iGEMer Community (CCiC), which is the biggest iGEM regional meeting in China prior to the Giant Jamboree, was held in Shanghai, with 60 current iGEM teams, over 500 students, supervisors and iGEM alumni attended it. This year, the fifth CCiC, was organized by Shanghai Tech University with the help of CCiC committee, which is the first informal alumni organization initiated by a bunch of enthusiastic Chinese iGEMers from previous competitions.
iGEM vice president Meagan Lizarazo, iGEM Board of directors Richard Johnson, and Asian ambassador ChenHong, representing iGEM headquarter attended the conference. The attendance of official representatives from iGEM HQ provided an exceptional opportunity for local iGEM teams to communicate directly with the HQ with regards to their questions, concerns and suggestions on project development and competition requirements. Besides, Meagan delivered a talk on iGEM history and development of iGEM in China. In her talk, she shared her ideas and thoughts about how to fully utilize the opportunity of iGEM in China, and how AfteriGEM could help current iGEMers in the future.
This conference, somewhat a miniature of Giant Jamboree, was divided into several parts, project presentation, panel discussion, poster display, keynote speech, troubleshooting, AfteriGEM discussion, and so on. It not only gave each iGEM team a chance to practice their presentation skills and form collaborations but also invited past iGEMers from previous years to host a panel session to pass on valuable competition experience and provided on-site help on project-related issues.
Keynote speakers from the academic and industry were invited to share their latest research, professor Guoping Zhao from Chinese Academy of Science gave an invaluable speech on his research: convergence revolution of synthetic biology; professor Yang and professor Dai shared the progress of their studies on metabolic engineering and synthetic yeast. Young iGEMers would certainly gain meaningful inspirations from these heavy-weight seniors on both project progress and future career direction.
A highlight of this year’s CCiC was the introduction of newly formulated AfteriGEM program. Asian ambassador ChenHong announced the launch of AfteriGEM community in wider China region, and then detailed on what AfterIGEM community does to fully incorporate with iGEM values, and how the community could facilitate iGEMers pursuing further in their interested fields after the competition. This new initiative attracted the attention of many students and their supervisors. In the following “Face-to-face discussion with the iGEM HQ” session, numerous questions and suggestions with respects to iGEM competition and AfteriGEM program were brought up by iGEMers. Typical ones are as followed: AfteriGEM platform could have more functions in terms of academic and education; a database on AfteriGEM platform for industry information searching; a collective display of outstanding past iGEM projects (include publication, patent filing, commercialization, etc.); opportunity for special edition of iGEM projects publication on renowned journals, etc. These constructive suggestions would help improving the functions of AfteriGEM program in the coming future.