geekStarter Newsletter January 2019

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Keep up with activities, accomplishments and events from the geekStarter community.

geekStarter Newsletter – January 2019

Our newsletter keeps you on track with what’s happening in the geekStarter community, including important dates and events. Its goal is to bring everyone in the community closer together and make our program even stronger and more successful.

Important dates

Jan 31 Final Report Deadline – iGEM & BIOMOD teams
Mar 2-3 Lab skills Workshop – Lethbridge
Apr 13 Robotics & Automation Workshop – Edmonton
Apr 26 StartUp Awards Application Deadline

Project almost complete: The team at Father Mercredi Community High School in Fort McMurray is adding the finishing touches on their bear robot decoy project

News and Announcements

  • Lab skills Workshop for SynBio teams – co-hosted with SynBridge at University of Lethbridge

Are you working on a project involving synthetic biology? Are you planning to start an iGEM team? At this hands-on workshop on March 2-3 you will build your wet lab skills and learn about synthetic biology and iGEM with help from experienced mentors.


  • Robotics & Automation Workshop for Robotics teams

Offered to geekStarter teams working on projects involving automation and robotics, this full-day event will take place in Edmonton on April 13, and will engage students in discussions with mentors and skill-building activities that will strengthen their ideas and projects.


  • geekStarter StartUp Awards

Did your team participate in our recent Start Up event on 24 Nov 2018? If yes, you are invited to apply for a StartUp Award of up to $2,500 – by April 26. For more details, please check your email.


  • BioTreks 2019: Publish your synthetic biology project 

BioTreks offers young synthetic biology teams the opportunity to publish their own peer-reviewed articles. Check out the 2019 BioTreks schedule.


  • iGEM 2019

The 2019 iGEM season is starting soon and dates have already been picked for the Giant Jamboree: Oct 31- Nov 4


A powerful visual metaphor for how entrepreneurial STEM education programs such as geekStarter benefit students and the society – courtesy of Luc Arvisais – teacher and team advisor at Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Academy in Canmore

Did you know…

…lab automation and artificial intelligence are bound to transform the biological design-build-test process? Learn more from Is there a place for biologists in the age of automation?

Community Highlights


  • Introducing 2018-19 geekStarter mentors

Mentors bring huge value to our program, and our middle- and high-school teams are lucky to work with an amazing group of geekStarter mentors. Go here to meet them.


  • A teacher’s geekStarter experience

Jessica Larocque – teacher and team advisor at Notre Dame Collegiate in High River – has recently shared her journey since she first started a synthetic biology team at her school in 2015. Read Jessica’s story here.


  • Teams updates

Go here to read the latest updates from our teams.


  • Genetic Engineering Resources – Step-By-Step Biopainting

Patrick Wu published another great blog post: Amino Labs Canvas Kit Review Enjoy!

Spotlight on geekStarters


This issue, our featured geekStarter is Ethan Agena who first joined the program as a high-school student in 2016 and has become a dedicated supporter and mentor. Learn more about Ethan here.

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