Working together to make progress

Key Achievements

✔ Sharing information and knowledge about the respective projects
✔ Helping each other solving problems and matters
✔ Collaborting toghether to achieve a common goal

Collaboration with Utrecht

The Biotechnology Conference in Utrecht

We first met iGEM-Utrecht at the European meet-up in Munich, where this team already set its mind on the organisation of a conference, but was still looking for some support. After a short brain-storming it was clear: We loved the idea of co-organising the conference to give people the possibility to gain insight into different fields of biotechnology and so we got started with the organisation.

Biotechnology Conference Flyer
Figure 1: Front page of our flyer for the conference

The responsibilities were split between the two teams of us: iGEM-Utrecht arranged the venue and facilities, catering and ticket-service, as well as companies for serious networking, while we were responsible for the design of flyers, posters and the powerpoint presentations.

Biotechnology Conference Flyer II
Figure 2: Back page of our flyer for the conference

Together we arranged talks about Single Cell Sequencing by Dr. Mauro Muraro, Metabolic engineering in E. coli to produce PHB from Sucrose by Dr. Aljoscha Wahl and Dr. Karel Olavarria Gamez, and the construction of artificial kidneys by Dr. Silvia Mihaila.

Co-organising the iGEM Biotechnology Conference with iGEM-Utrecht was a worthwhile experience, as it gave us the possibility to not only learn how to work together over distances and how to organise an event, but also it was a perfect opportunity to share our passion for synthetic biology with interested people and to exchange opinions, contacts and ideas.

Biotechnology Conference Begin
Figure 3: Introduction of the Biotechnology Conference in Utrecht


Being supportive of a newcomer

For a successful project, a critical and objective review of progress and problems is necessary. If it is not possible for a team on its own to find a solution for a specific problem, then it is probably time to ask the community. Sharing and collaborating is the policy of iGEM. People who step back show maturity, because they understand where their limits are and choose to rely on other people to overcome them.

In the first months of our project, we were contacted by the iGEM team of Kyoto which was working on a project similar to the predecessor iGEM team Aachen Salt Vault Their project consists in genetically modifing yeast S. cerevisiae to take up sodium as well as chloride ions to desalinate water and therefore recover fields which have been floated by the sea. Because one of our team mates has been part of the previous iGEM team Aachen, we decided to advice them.

We shared expertise, results and modelling information in order to help them as much as possible and make their first iGEM experience as a team both as enjoyable and smoothly as possible.


Mentoring and liaising of contact

We had the pleasure to work with iGEM IISER Bhopal from India. They also work on a cell based biosensor, but to measure the methane concentration of the air. It was interesting to talk with them about our different approaches to this topic and to give each other thought-provoking impulses. For example sharing our approach of how to do a cell free biosensor via LSPR gave them an idea on how to make a biosensor more practical. Our Engineer Jan Swetschinski instructed this Indian team on how to do the modeling for their project. He recommended them a modeling program and showed them how to use it to feed the information into the programme.
We also exchanged our human practices experiences and ideas with each other and iGEM Bhopal gave us the opportunity to ask some questions to Dr. Puneet Ghandi, an Indian professor in Medical Biotechnology. As she researched on DNA instability in neurodegenerative disorders, we asked if she had come across the correlation of an imbalanced melatonin production and neurodegenerative disorders in her studies. She investigated Hurler's Syndrome and Huntington's Chorea and told us that the role of melatonin was more studied in these diseases recently. Based on her current work on CNS tumors, Dr. Ghandi thought it would be useful to measure the concentration of melatonin in these disorders. Through this contact, we were reassured that a malfunction of melatonin production is a worldwide important topic in medical research, therefore a simplification of the measuring method could have a great impact.
Furthermore, this contact gave both of our teams the opportunity to present our projects to a bigger audience from the other side of the word.

skype meeting with iGEM IISER Bhop
Figure 1: One of our meetings with the iGEM team of IISER Bhopal

Postcard project

A little look out on other projects

Figure 1: Our postcard

The iGEM team of the Heinrich Heine Universität Düsseldorf initiated a project, where all participating iGEM teams can create a postcard, dedicated to their project or generally to synthetic biology. So we created our own postcard and received many beautiful and interesting cards from other teams. In this way we were able to keep their research topics in mind.

Figure 2: Postcards from the other participants