ABOUT

OUR STORY

M

AGIC was initiated through the Photosynthesis Ideas Lab program in 2010. The Ideas Lab process itself is experimental, and resulting projects tend to be highly creative and intentionally high risk/high return. Importantly, the programme, through the formation of MAGIC, has brought together researchers who very likely would otherwise not have interacted.

MAGIC was one of four programmes  awarded by the BBRC and NSF that were developed through the alternative approach pioneered at the Ideas Lab. Total funding for the selected projects is $10.3 million.

A Cornerstone of MAGIC’s work to date has been its coordination through regular meetings and exchange of information, ideas and materials. We hold monthly virtual meetings, coordinated that bring together all of the PIs and their research groups for updates on progress, for ‘brainstorming’ technical issues, and for planning.

These sessions have enabled the design, coordination and distribution of codon-optimized constructs, coordinated preparation of vectors and planning and implementation of joint experimentation. Additionally, we hold face-to-face meetings annually (Cambridge, 24-26.June 2011; Warwick, 28-30.June 2012; Berkeley, 3-4.June 2013) involving all of the PIs and their research teams.

3rd MAGIC group meeting, Berkeley USA
JUNE 2013
MAY 2013
Carotenoid monoxygenase activities verified in E. coli, cyanobacteria and chloroplasts.
2nd MAGIC group meeting, Warwick UK
JUNE 2012
MARCH 2012
Expression systems established; first quantitative data for pHR expression and functionality.
1st MAGIC group meeting, Cambridge UK
JUNE 2011
SEPT 2010
MAGIC GROUP established, Monterey USA.

“Photosynthesis has evolved in plants, algae and some other bacteria and in each case the mechanism does the best possible job for the organism in question. However, there are trade-offs in nature which mean that photosynthesis is not as efficient as it could be–at around only five percent, depending on how it is measured. There is scope to improve it for processes useful to us by, for example, increasing the amount of food crop or energy biomass a plant can produce from the same amount of sunlight. This is hugely ambitious research but if the scientists we are supporting can achieve their aims it will be a profound achievement.” Janet Allen, Director of Research BBSRC

Group Mtg Berkeley

MAGIC meeting participants, Berkeley, June 2013 (left to right):

Marek Szecowka  (postdoc, Julian Hibberd), Vinicio Gonzalez (postdoc, Nigel Burroughs), Seth Axen  (lab staff, Cheryl Kerfeld), Vamsi Moparthi (postdoc, Cheryl Kerfeld), Cheryl Kerfeld, Carla Minguet (PhD student, Mike Blatt), Manish Kumar, Brian Ferlez (PhD student, John Golbeck), Carol Baker (postdoc, John Golbeck), Nick Smirnoff, Nigel Burroughs, Chloe Singleton (postdoc, Nick Smirnoff), Mike Blatt

photo taken by John Golbeck

Not shown: Cecile Lefoulon (postdoc, Mike Blatt) Onur Erbilgin (PhD student, Cheryl Kerfeld), Julian Hibberd