Mentoring the iGEM team Wuerzburg

We consider iGEM not only as a competition but as a possibility to create bonds with a great community of highly motivated students. At the German iGEM Meet-Up in Marburg we were approached by the newly founded iGEM team Wuerzburg. As the Munich team is well established in the iGEM competition, we agreed on helping them with their first iGEM project.

A generic square placeholder image with rounded corners in a figure.

Throughout the following months, we advised their team. We discussed their project and shared our knowledge on all topics. These were ranging from the competition itself to financing. After this great bonding, we decided to become their official iGEM mentor.

We focused our mentoring on:

  • Regular contact via Skype, E-Mail and WhatsApp
  • Guidelines on finding financial support (sponsors portfolio)
  • Professional appearance
  • Team contract
  • Solving technical issues during the InterLab study
  • Track selection

We met again during the European Meetup in Munich and tightened our bonds even further. In the future, we plan to consolidate our partnership.

Assessing Water Quality with iGEM Tec-Monterrey

After the initial contact via E-Mail, we decided to have a video call to further discuss about collaboration possibilities. We were especially interested in their human practice program, in which they compared the water pollution of several rivers all over the world, by photometrically testing its Nitrate burden. This is also interesting for us, because bacteriophages can be isolated from waste water and rivers.

Therefore, findings on the biological and chemical composition of open waters are highly relevant to us. Since iGEM Tec-Monterrey also wanted to include a German river sample to their data, we had the chance to start our collaboration right there. The Isar, the main river in Munich, flows right behind our lab, allowing us to take a sample. Due to some problems with the postal service, the team had trouble receiving all their samples. Luckily, we were able to test the samples with ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy in our lab using their experimental protocol. In return, the iGEM Team Tec-Monterrey shared their opinion about phage therapy in other countries like Mexico, which helped us set a clear focus on our project. They also provided us with a lot of inspiration regarding the optimization of our cell extract and possible human practices projects. All in all, we had a great time collaborating, and we are looking forward to meeting our new friends from Mexico in person at the Giant Jamboree.

A generic square placeholder image with rounded corners in a figure.
Nitrate contamination in different open waters measured with ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy

Assembling Genetically Engineered Phages From Grenoble

A generic square placeholder image with rounded corners in a figure.
A class-average of TEM images of T5 bacteriophages
A generic square placeholder image with rounded corners in a figure.
Plaque assay proved that the assembled T5 bacteriophages are fully functional.

The iGEM Team Grenoble-Alpes is creating a diagnostic tool for pathogenic bacteria. Adding upon the accomplishments of this project, we collaborated on expanding Phactory as a universally employable platform for production of therapeutic bacteriophages. iGEM Grenoble supplied the necessary bacteria and their phage (T5). We then isolated the DNA from the samples and tested the assembly of this phage in our cell-extract.

The phage was produced successfully and is fully functional. We verified the assembly by plaque assay and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). We were very happy to work together with iGEM Grenoble on advancing phage therapy and are looking forward so see their final results during the Giant Jamboree.