A while back, we heard from a group of students at Yale University working for a really exciting project called iGEM. They wanted to use Mendeley so they could collaborate better in their research, and we were more than happy to help out. We also thought it’d be nice to share their experience and insights with the Mendeley community:
We’re the Yale iGEM team, a team of eight undergraduates who research synthetic biology and participate in the annual iGEM (international genetically engineered machines) competition.
From glow-in-the-dark bacteria to fuel-producing cyanobacteria, synthetic biology has a wide variety of applications that can be used to better our world. Each year, the Yale iGEM team comes together to produce a project that uses engineered biology to solve industrial, medical and environmental problems.
Synthetic biology is an emerging subset of science that focuses not only on the study of natural biological systems, but the alteration and design of novel systems. This year, our team is aiming to engineer a common strain of bacteria so that it produces polylactic acid (PLA), a biopolymer and plastic substitute that is cheaper, cleaner to make, and biodegradable.
Mendeley has been really useful in helping with organizing all the background literature and research we have investigated in order to achieve our team’s goals. It’s a great place to store, share and comment on the research that serves as our project’s foundation.
Our university software library offers a few options for reference managers, but Mendeley is more useful to us because it enables a collaborative workspace that doesn’t require us all to be in the same room. In our team, we might have three full-time student researchers in our summer lab while the rest of our researchers may be pursuing other opportunities around the world, so we can’t always meet face-to-face.
Mendeley supported us with an upgraded team package and we have found the ease of adding in members, importing and organizing documents to be highly useful. In addition, the team found that Mendeley combined e-mail, cloud drive and reference management in a very elegant and intuitive way.
We’re grateful for the support and now are really looking forward to the outcomes of our research. We hope to have results by the iGEM World Competition in November 2013, and we’ll post them when they become available!