The birth of Trinity
This year’s Valentine’s Day was a little more than just roses and chocolate for a group of 10 young aspiring students from Duesseldorf. It was the day that marked the first big milestone of their journey — finding and deciding about the development for this year’s iGEM project.
First of all, to make it clear, this wasn’t one of those Eureka moments that suddenly occur and lead everyone to glory. No! If you ever ask someone how hard it is to come up with an idea for a startup, the person would probably tell you that it’s hard. Really, really hard. Now, imagine it in the context of the most progressive field in modern science, where every new technology from today is exploited tomorrow and thousands of newspaper articles about it follow the day after. This should give you a perspective. Countless hours spent meditating, brainstorming, and polishing the project proposals lead us to this point. A whole three rounds of giving suggestions and voting, and voting and giving suggestions were needed to narrow it down to one: Trinity - towards a synthetic co-culture.
Trinity is a commonly used name (and we are very well aware of that), but what does the project comprise of?
The short answer would be: Wait till October and see for yourself! But that would make you miss the most interesting part.
The long answer is: Tthe project has a history, and we’re sure going to introduce you to it!
It may sound unbelievable, but it all started with a house. Yes, the brainstorming yielded original ideas. No, this wasn’t one of them. It was just going to be one of those bioactive houses, where you recycle everything you produce and produce everything from what you recycle. Admittedly, we felt uncomfortable beating a dead horse, so we introduced some interesting ideas like producing medical substances from household waste plastics, but all of it didn’t quite cut it. At this point, we figured that all the features that we wanted to introduce would have to be delegated to some form of a synthetic co-culture, in order to make it more autonomous and self-sufficient. So, why not concentrate on that?
That’s exactly what we did. While most details are enterprise secrets (or simply not fully researched yet), we decided that there can be no project more synthetic than one focusing on co-cultivating organisms, where all the parts are engineered with the help of rational design. After we presented our draft version of different ways to regulate organisms in a co-culture containing up to three organisms which would be the proof of principle for the system we want to establish, our team unanimously voted in favor of Trinity.
Click here for our Project Description
Click here for our Medal Criteria