Recapping the 2022 iGEM Grand Jamboree

On October 26, hundreds of young scientists made their way through Paris to convene at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles for the world’s largest synthetic biology competition. The iGEM Grand Jamboree showcases student projects from around the world that tackle real-world challenges such as nutrition, diagnostics and climate change.

Each year, ten Promega iGEM Grant winners receive $2,500 in free Promega products to support their research. Many Promega branch offices also provide support to teams within their region. In total, 36 iGEM teams were supported by Promega during the 2022 competition.

Promega staff at the 2022 iGEM jamboree
Representatives from Promega France and Promega Madison meet iGEM competitors during the Jamboree

Six representatives from Promega Madison, France and Germany attended the Jamboree. We met so many incredible scientists and had countless conversations about the exciting future of synthetic biology. At the Closing Ceremonies, we were thrilled to see many of our sponsored teams take home gold medals, trophies, and even the coveted BioBrick Trophy.

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What You Need, When You Need It: Monitoring and Responding to Ongoing Supply Chain Disruptions

Today’s blog is written by Brady Musson, Director of Global Logistics at Promega.

Our priority is ensuring that Promega customers receive everything they need, exactly when they need it. As the Director of Global Logistics at Promega, that is my primary focus, and the expertise of my entire team. I want to assure you that we’re doing everything we can so you can focus on keeping your work moving.

There are many factors that go into realizing these goals, and I would like to take a moment to address how Promega is managing some of the recent challenges. Our long-term, sustainable approach to business helps us weather uncertainty and instability. Our strong network of relationships allows us to explore creative solutions when challenges arise. Above all, our employees are willing to do what it takes to support the important work being done by life scientists around the world.

Promega is working hard to ensure that supply chain disruptions do not affect scientists' abilities to further their work using Promega technologies.
Kepler Center is the home of Promega customer service, kit packaging and shipping.
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iGEM Team Explores Regenerative Spinal Cord Treatment with Promega Support

Today’s blog is written by KCL iGEM Team Leaders Alya Masoud Abdelhafid and Luke Bateman. Both in their third and final year at King’s College London, Alya is completing a BSc in Nutrition and Luke a BSc in Biochemistry.  

Every year, the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition (iGEM) offers high-school, undergraduate and post-graduate students the opportunity to conduct independent research using synthetic biology and genetic engineering to develop solutions to local and global problems.

More than 350 teams from around the world participate in iGEM, which culminates in a presentation at the global iGEM Giant Jamboree, attended by more than 6000 people every year. Here, novel research is presented amongst pioneers in synthetic biology, and outstanding projects are awarded prizes for their contribution to the greater scientific community. iGEM teams consistently produce ground-breaking solutions to modern challenges, many of which facilitate the development of multimillion-dollar companies and start-ups.

We are the King’s College London (KCL) iGEM team and are honored to be involved in the innovative and prestigious iGEM community.

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Monitoring Cellular Metabolism for NAFLD/NASH Liver Disease Research

In this blog, Dr. Jolanta Vidugiriene, Senior Research Scientist at Promega Corporation, discusses tools for studying metabolism in NAFLD/NASH research.

Dr. Jolanta Vidugiriene, Senior Research Scientist at Promega Corporation, discusses tools for studying metabolism in NAFLD/NASH research

What is nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)?

NAFLD is not a simple disease, it is an umbrella term for a range of liver conditions. The main defining characteristic of NAFLD is fat accumulation in the liver, called steatosis. In about 20% of people, steatosis is accompanied by inflammation, which is a more severe form of NAFLD called NASH (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis). NASH can progress to more advanced conditions like liver cirrhosis and liver failure. Most of the time, NAFLD is associated with underlying conditions—it is closely related to metabolic dysfunction, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. To better reflect the disease pathology, there has been a lot of discussion in the field recently to rename NAFLD to MAFLD, for metabolic associated fatty liver disease. Even though NAFLD has been studied for many years, the causes and progression of the disease are still not well understood. There are no FDA-approved diagnostic tools or treatments for it yet.

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Finding the Right Maxwell® RSC Kit for Your Nucleic Acid Extraction

This blog was written by guest writers Paraj Mandrekar (Technical Services Scientist 3) and Michelle Mandrekar, (Research Scientist 4).

Here are some designer’s notes comparing the Maxwell® RSC Blood DNA and the Maxwell® RSC simplyRNA kit chemistries for nucleic acid extraction.

The Maxwell RSC Blood DNA Kit and Maxwell RSC simplyRNA Blood Kit were both developed from the same non-silica-based purification chemistry and use the same underlying paramagnetic particle. This chemistry is characterized by an extreme binding capacity (the capacity of nucleic acid that can be bound on the particle), leading to both chemistries being capable of isolating large amounts of nucleic acid volumes and then eluting into relatively small volumes (50 µL). It is not unusual with either chemistry to have isolates that exceed 100 ng/µL. Although the chemistries have several similarities, there are some important distinctions between how the two chemistries were designed that influence which kit you choose for your nucleic acid extraction.

Image of blood with molecules of DNA and RNA superimposed Nucleic Acid Extraction
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Finding the Latest Science News While On the Go

Today’s guest blog was written in collaboration with Melissa Martin, a former global marketing intern with Promega. She is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she is double majoring in zoology and life sciences communication, with a certificate in environmental studies.

Have you ever found yourself wondering what the newest advancements were on genetically engineering plants or using artificial intelligence in biotechnology but didn’t know where to start looking? You most likely know the basic science behind the headlines, but a general web search may lead to dramatized articles that focus more on getting attention than being accurate. Or you might find a scholarly article that will offer in-depth, peer-reviewed information but may require more time to read than you are willing to give.

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Using Databases to Find Scholarly Sources

Today’s guest blog was written in collaboration with Melissa Martin, a former global marketing intern with Promega. She is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she is double majoring in zoology and life sciences communication, with a certificate in environmental studies.

Peer-reviewed papers are considered the most technical and in-depth way to learn about research and scientific advances. As a student or scientist, you will not only want to read scholarly articles to learn about what others are doing in your field but also to expand your knowledge and learn about scientific advances in completely new areas of study. With countless disciplines of science covering wide-ranging topics such as cell biology, physical chemistry or human behavior, it can be overwhelming to do a general search and find articles and journals that will have the topics relevant to your interests.

Young woman searching databases for findingscholarly articles.
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Resume vs. CV — What Is the Difference?

Today’s guest blog is written by Sophie Mancha, a former global marketing intern with Promega. She is in her 4th year as a PhD candidate in the Biomedical Engineering Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, studying pancreatic cancer.

Whether you are applying for a scholarship or trying to land a position in a research lab, there are plenty of decisions to make. Arguably, the most critical consideration is what documents to include to showcase that you are the right person for the job. Specifically, should you be preparing a curriculum vitae (CV) or a resume? What exactly is the difference?

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New Assay to Study SARS-CoV-2 Interaction with Human ACE2 Receptor

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a viral respiratory disease caused by a SARS-associated coronavirus. The most recent version, SARS-CoV-2 was first detected in China in the winter of 2019 and is responsible for the current COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) global pandemic. This virus and its variants have resulted in over 200 million infections and more than 4 million fatalities world-wide. To combat this deadly outbreak the global research community has responded with remarkable swiftness with the development of several vaccines and drug therapies, all produced in record time. In addition to vaccines and drug therapies, diagnostic kits and research reagents continue to roll out to track infections and to help find additional therapies.

This peer-reviewed paper published in Nature Scientific Reports by Alves and colleagues demonstrates how a new assay can be used to discover novel inhibitors that block the binding of SARS-CoV-2 to the human ACE2 receptor as well as study how mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein alter its apparent affinity towards human ACE2. The paper also details studies where the assay is used to detect the presence of neutralizing antibodies from both COVID-19 positive samples as well as samples from vaccinated individuals.

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Inventory Managment and Onsite Stocking without the Headache

The Helix on-site stocking program has been a resource for scientists for many years. With customized onsite stocking, inventory management and automated billing, losing precious time to a missing reagent is a thing of the past.

Helix freezers and cabinents provide seemless onsite stocking and inventory managment

To better understand the impact of Helix on our customers’ research, we spoke to Chris Thompson of Pro-GeneX, a clinical laboratory in Atlanta, GA. “Using the Helix system has been a game changer from the first day we got it,” Chris said.  “It was simple to set up and use from the start and has never let us down.  We routinely show it off to visitors to our lab because we are so impressed with it.  I only wish all my reagents used a system like this.  From an inventory perspective it is the best invention in our lab!”

Read our full Q&A with Chris below:

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