2015 Plate Race

Written by: Karmella Haynes. This year, the Synthetic Biology course competed with the Yeast, Gene Expression, and Imaging courses for the coveted Plate Race trophy.

Synthetic Biology worked hard during precious (rare) free time to create an epic team shirt. I believe we may have outdone ourselves in the level of playful absurdity. Thanks to our course assistant Kevin and the rest of the CSH staff, our beautiful shirts arrived in time for the race on Friday.


The Plate race is a Cold Spring Harbor tradition. It is a ~0.2 mile relay style race where each runner must finish an entire lap carrying a stack of 40 used agar plates growing of mold and other disgusting things. The stack is handed to the next runner in the “drop zone”…the only area where accidental spills are allowed. If a runner drops their stack outside of the drop zone, they must return to the starting line to retrieve a new stack of plates and attempt to finish the lap again.

This year, Synthetic Biology placed third, with only two drops outside the drop-zone, an excellent performance for a group who only practiced once. What we may have lacked in plate-jockeying experience, we made up for in team spirit and participation. Not only did we fill all of the runner’s slots, our course assistant Kevin Kavitt got in on the action and performed fantastically. Instructors Stanley Qi and Julius Lucks ran, as well as course TAs Eddie Zhao, Rene Daer (ne Davis), and James Chappell. When asked how he managed to run so fast without dropping the plates, Eddie replied “I ran as if there were no plates.” Mind blown.

We had our own cheerleading section complete with banners, signs and our own wacky synthetic mascot, the Cackalope (cat + jackalope, special thanks to Will Byrd).



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