iGEM 學生實錄(Part I)-「看到了身邊數不盡的其他人也一起在解決不同問題和挑戰,我此刻無比感激自己有機會嘗試成為為這個世界進步貢獻的一份子。」

  第一次聽到iGEM其實是在2023年年初的時候,剛在太空殖民計畫競賽中拿到大獎,當時對於這種大團隊協力合作,自由度極高的賽事保持著很大的熱忱,也渴望將一路學到的知識發揮應用。參加iGEM以前我沒有接觸過生物領域,缺乏對學科的了解,但是,靠著想開開眼界和跨出舒適圈的想法,秉持著「沒有白走的路」的信念,我開啟了我的iGEM之旅。

  具體形容我在團隊中的角色的話,我覺得自己是一個有全局觀的協調者,iGEM需要完成的遠遠不只有實驗,而是一個環環相扣,且有著科學根據的合成生物學計畫,因此單獨琢磨自己研究和負責的部分是不夠的。在項目合作的初期,不習慣這種模式和缺乏默契的大家很容易在星海一般的論文和報導堆中遺失方向,我相信我的能力能在這時發揮作用,一直到比賽結束,我同時負責協助不同組別之間的協作,希望能把這種全局觀帶給其他隊友,讓大家在遇到衝突時願意以一個共同目標建立共識,做出協商。

  其中有幾個特別的工作,例如圖像影視紀錄,無論在什麼iGEM場合,只要找拿著相機的人,就能找到我,透過拍攝整個團隊和不同的訪談,我獲得了更多機會與每個隊員面對面的交流,還有更深入的認識專家,相簿中每一張都是故事和經驗,身為攝影師的我,在鏡頭中看到了其他隊友的努力和整個項目的潛力,是個難忘的機會。當然,剪輯這份工作附帶價值就是,看了實驗步驟不下八十次,每一個實驗室中的動作都已刻在我心底!

  團隊中的困難主要關乎大家的鬥志和積極程度,分子生物學的內容都是屬於摸不到看不到的,有著繁雜的基礎理論知識,在學習的過程中,超綱的內容容易讓人在實驗室犯睏,無數次精神喊話,以及實作成果帶來的成就感讓我們堅持到了現在。

  這次巴黎行我們團隊準備的真的相當充分,從攤位開始說起,雖然不確定是不是最有意思,但肯定是有著最多零食,最有特色的!從頭帶到文件夾,貼紙、表單到解說板,大家真的豁出去了!個人也很喜歡這種全員奮鬥感覺,這是一件如此青春熱血的事啊!在巴黎遇到更大的組,更拚的對手,無論是競賽培訓還是燃燒熱情,這群高中生、本科生、碩博士,都讓我看到了那種突破極限的美,無論悔恨還是喜悅都飽含著生命力。在看到每一個來到攤位的人時,在和每一個認真傾聽的人介紹時,在有人提起願意在未來提供的幫助時,我們是容光煥發的,那種把自己的心血展展現給別人看的心情,讓我深刻體會到,我付出的每一刻,就是成就我成為一個科學家的點點滴滴。

  沒有所謂某一個時刻,讓我變成了科學的一份子,但當你走進了iGEM會場,看到了自己和這個世界上,最領先、最有創意的一群人,一起解決問題,那一刻你會意識到,合成生物學和其他科學之所以如此吸引人,是因為它是一種「希望」,讓人們敢想、敢說「我們不滿意這個status quo」、敢說「嘿,說不定這個可以解決問題」,讓大家有底氣相信,這群年輕人就算現在沒法解決問題,他們將會是讓未來變好的關鍵人物,在巴黎,我有幸體會到了最溫暖且熱情「火種」,這群來自世界各地的年輕人,正在做點什麼,而且相信著自己能做出點什麼,這場景帶給我的震撼和感動,我相信會很深很深的刻在我腦中。

  一年的努力就好像一場夢,看到了一路走來的自己手裡已握著那份火種,看到了身邊數不盡的其他人,也一起在解決不同問題和挑戰,我此刻無比感激,有機會嘗試成為為這世界進步貢獻的一份子。

The idea for this competition really began during one of the discussion times for our NSS project, and it immediately caught my attention because of its focus on biology. Among the sciences, I’ve always found biology the most intriguing and especially biotechnology — which happened to be one of the main components of synthetic biology.

As for my role over the course of this year-long project, I was the student leader of the team, meaning I was in charge of leading the Saturday meetings as well as dividing up work. Also, I played a role in writing/revising the scripts for our videos and presentations, and writing about our engineering successes. As we approached the end of our project, we held an iGEM seminar, and of course, the competition itself. Some of my more memorable experiences in these two events include the mock competition during the seminar that quite literally destroyed our self-esteem and mentality towards this project. Although that may seem like a quite horrific experience, it truly encouraged us to rethink, reorganize, and reform our Lumbrokinase project into something qualified for a gold medal and two distinct nominations.

The competition in Paris on the other hand, was a completely different experience. From receiving our constructive criticism during the seminar, we prepared extremely well for the presentations, and I specifically remember going around the venue and handing out our project pamphlets to anyone who looks willing (or not) to spare a few minutes of their time to hear a project on earthworms. Finally, even though I was the leader of this project, there were moments where everyone had their chance to lead and contribute to our success, and that’s why I believe it’s so important to be able to work with people that are better than you. Better at certain experimental details, better at cutting and producing videos, better at organizing seminars, and much much more.

All in all, I’ll always appreciate the opportunity I’ve been given to not only participate (and succeed) in such a prestigious competition, but also, and more importantly, work with such great people to learn and do something I’m passionate about.

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