Team:WITS-South Africa/Michelle Robinson



Hi! I’m Michelle and as the only female student on the iGEM team, I’m either the rose amongst the thorns, or, perhaps, the thorn amongst the roses…

I’m currently completing my Honours degree in the pioneer field of Molecular Medicine at Wits University. My specific interests lie in the molecular mechanisms of infectious diseases and figuring out how to combat them. I’m infinitely fascinated by the complexity of the world of molecular biology and while other people might think it odd just how much interest I have in bacteria, I just think they are awesome. A definite part of the appeal of working on our project this year was the fact that we got to work with some interesting bugs, such as Lactobacillus gasseri, B.cereus and B. subtilis. (No offense to the good old lab workhorse, E.coli!)

I also have a very strong interest in activism and advocacy and am actively involved in various projects that advocate for sexual and reproductive health, and rural and public health - an interesting challenge in South Africa’s unique context. This has some obvious tie-ins to the theme of our project this year, which has made it all the more compelling for me. Obviously, part of iGEM is having fun and experimenting in the field of synthetic biology, but the work we do for this competition also has tremendous potential to make a difference one day – and that makes me really excited to be a part of iGEM 2010.