FAQs about our Team

From 2008.igem.org

Q. How did you assemble a team, given that UCSF does not have undergraduates?

A. As in 2007, the majority of our 2008 team comes from Abraham Lincoln High, a San Francisco public school. This year, we had two returning students (now undergraduates) from the 2007 team. In addition, we were able to recruit two international students, who were both upper level undergraduates.

Q. Can high school students really do this work?

A. Yes. While most high school seniors would not be prepared to take part in iGEM, our students come from the unique Lincoln High Biotechnology class. This course, established by George Cachiannes, and co-taught by Julie Reis, is an intensive, two-year introduction to molecular biology and the business of biotech (curriculum can be found here). George and Julie select top students from this course to join the team.

The key to our high school students’ success in iGEM is that they arrive at UCSF with lab skills equivalent to those of many upper-level undergraduates. While they have not had the advanced coursework of many iGEM participants, they have exceptional creativity, and gravitate towards the engineering challenge that iGEM presents. To round out the experience, we meet weekly for seminars on project-related topics in biology, hold regular journal club discussions, and the students give a number of presentations in preparation for speaking at iGEM.

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