Team:TU Darmstadt/Team


This year’s iGEM team consists of 27 members, studying biology, biomolecular engineering and chemistry. As we have a great variety of backgrounds due to our members, our project represents this diversity. Moreover, our team consists of undergrads and grad-students, so the older team members taught the youngsters in the laboratory, as well as in the writing of scientific texts. In addition, workshops were organized by the project monitoring, covering topics like project management and presentation trainings. We happily observe an improvement of every single team member within the project in both hard and soft skills.

Moreover, we all experienced that work is more fun, and thereby more efficient if you have a friendship with your colleagues. These friendships formed due to many group activities, like going to the meet-ups, having long game nights and relaxing a weekend in the alps while hiking.

To sum up, our group consists of diverse members, forming one iGEM team TU Darmstadt, with one idea resulting in one project and afterwards with one shared memory of the iGEM year.


Primary PI

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Prof. Dr. Heribert Warzecha

N/A | Plant Biotechnology and Metabolic Engineering | Semester: N/A

Prof. Dr. Heribert Warzecha is professor for Plant Biotechnology and Metabolic Engineering at the TU Darmstadt. He initiated the iGEM project at our university in 2012 and supported us in all our efforts since then. His research focuses on the elucidation of natural compound biosynthesis in plants as well as on the production of novel structures by pathway engineering.

Instructor & Project Monitoring


Group picture of our "Instructor & Project Monitoring" team
From left to right: Thea Lotz and Marietheres Kleuter

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Thea S. Lotz

28 | PhD in Synthetic Biology | Semester: N/A

Being Darmstadt’s long-time iGEM supervisor, I have yet to experience “team” or “iGEM” fatigue. Every year it is a pleasure getting to know a freshly formed team. I particularly enjoy and cherish our often high degree of interdisciplinarity, which always leads to a great increase in knowledge for all participants, myself included! I hope we will have a great time as always, and nice results would be awesome, too!

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Marietheres Kleuter

23 | M. Sc. Biomolecular Engineering | Semester: 2

Two years ago, I joined the iGEM team as a laboratory worker. This time, I am one of the project monitors. I focus on the aspects of coordination, communication and presentation. As I am convinced, that iGEMers learn much more than “just” the lab work, we (Thea and I) support our team member´s with different seminars about the mentioned topics. I believe that my work as a coach in communication and as a project attendant in different student projects at the TU Darmstadt helps me, to gather a great team spirit with a fun and successful closing in Boston.

Student Leaders


Group picture of our "Student Leaders" team
From left to right: Lara Steinel, Jennifer Zimmermann and Bea Marie Spiekermann

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Bea Marie Spiekermann

22 | B. Sc. Biology | Semester: 6

Last year's project taught me to know one's limitations and how much impact challenges and difficulties have on the personal development. In 2018, I hope to see the new team members gaining experiences, such as I did last year, and let my own experiences be beneficial for this year's project. Being part of the team coordination means organizing the work flow and offering new experiences. As part of a project, arranged by students for students, I wish to encourage others in finding their own scientific spirit. I am looking forward to working together as a team, therefore citing Stephen Hawking: "Life would be tragic if it weren't funny.".

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Jennifer Zimmermann

22 | B. Sc. Biology | Semester: 6

I am glad to be able to transmit my experiences from the last year to the new team members as a part of the project coordination this year. The experiences, which I collected last year, brought me to participate again in iGEM and to facilitate the same for the other students. In contrast to the last year, I will mainly deal with activities beyond the laboratory and I hope to develop my own abilities concerning planning and organization. I am sure that we will create an exciting project again with a lot of fun.

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Lara Steinel

21 | B. Sc. Biology | Semester: 6

I've been part of the iGEM team at TU Darmstadt in 2017. During this time, the experiences I was allowed to make, inspired me to contribute in this year's team, as well. This time, however, I won't be working in the lab. My task will be project coordination. I want to pass down my experiences and knowledge from last year to the new team members. Furthermore, I'd like to experience the iGEM competition from an entirely new angle. I am really looking forward to learn new things, grow with this year's team, and master challenges together.

Student Members

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Anies Rösch

21 | B. Sc. Chemistry | Semester: 4

I am happy about joining iGEM this year. It is my first time participating in iGEM and I hope to have some positive impact on the team as a chemist. Unlike the basic studying, iGEM enables students to independently work on an own project. This new experience is a great opportunity for seeing and learning what advanced studies might be like. At the same time, iGEM is an unique chance to learn much about synthetic biology. Furthermore, socializing is one of the most important aspects of our project.

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Christian Hake

20 | B.Sc. Biomolecular Engineering | Semester: 4

In this year, I participate in the iGEM competition for the first time. The self-chosen topic as well as working without a given, rigid framework on known ground has been especially tempting. Furthermore, there is the interchange between degree courses, semesters and universities. I hope to gain interesting insights into the self-organization of our team, doing my bit for a successful project.

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Elena Nickels

23 | B. Sc. Biology | Semester: 6

This is the second year I am participating in iGEM. Last year, I had the chance to learn a lot about self-contained work in the laboratory. Besides having fun in the lab, I learned about one's own limitation and how to challenge those. This year, I want to challenge new problems and tie up with my skills from last year. Furthermore I want to pass on my experience and gained knowledge from the last year project to the new team members. I am looking forward for the next exciting and successful project.

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Felicitas Gülzow

22 | M. Sc. Technical Biology | Semester: 2

This is my first year participating in iGEM - and I am excited! Excited to have the possibility to use all the theory, the knowledge I gained during my study for an own project with a motivated team. With all the theory and professors sharing their own projects and suggestions, students might lose the ability to create ideas. That’s what we do in iGEM, we research on our own for a topic, we coordinate our group, we take responsibility, but we also come to our own decisions. I think it’s going to be a good experience!

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Jamina Gerhardus

22 | M. Sc. Technical Biology | Semester: 1

Even though I’ve heard many things about iGEM before, this is my first time participating. I'm excited to start a hopefully successful project from our very own ideas. Furthermore, I’m thrilled to work on a project fairly long-term (longer than regular modules). I'm excited to work together with the other teammates and seeing what will come together over the next months. Besides all that, I hope for an awesome time, filled with lots of fun and new experiences.

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Jan Benedict Spannenkrebs

24 | M. Sc. Biomolecular Engineering | Semester: 2

2018 is my second time participating in iGEM. I gained a lot of valuable experience during my first iGEM year, which came in handy while working on my bachelor thesis. This year I'm looking forward on extending my knowledge again. A big part of iGEM for me is the fun you have working in a team, getting to know new people, exchanging ideas and discussing recent scientific advances.I also want to pass on the knowledge I gained in the past to people who participate for their first time, hoping iGEM will be equally or even more fun and interesting for them as it was for me.

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Jana Anton

21 | B. Sc. Biomolecular Engineering | Semester: 4

I'll be participating in iGEM for the first time this year. I am looking forward to work together with a group and to be in a laboratory, where we are able to work on our own project. I really like that we are able to work on our own project by ourselves and I am really excited to see how far we will go with it. My main motivation for participating in iGEM is to increase my knowledge as well as to learn new skills.

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Jonathan Achter

19 | B. Sc. Biomolecular Engineering | Semester: 4

I have heard about iGEM in my first semester and did not hesitate to take part in the project this year. One of the major reasons for my participation is the unique possibility within the bachelor studies to gather experiences with extensive and independent work in the lab, as well as within the team. I'm very enthusiastic and excited about future developments in our iGEM project and hope to experience personal growth from challenging tasks and interdisciplinary teamwork.

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Jonathan Funk

21 | B. Sc. Chemistry | Semester: 4

I am joining iGEM for the first time this year. I found out about iGEM through a friend of mine, who believed that I might be interested in the project. As a chemist I want to learn as much as I can about the field of synthetic biology while also trying to push forward the interdisciplinary part of this year’s project. I hope to learn a lot of technical skills but I would also like to learn organizatoric skills as well as taking responsibility for me and my team. For these reasons, I am the lab leader for this year’s chemistry sub team.

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Juliane Kliehm

19 | B. Sc. Biomolecular Engineering | Semester: 4

It is the first time I will join the iGEM team. I like the idea of a free chosen project and to work independently from the duties of the normal student modules. I am fascinated that nobody else has done exactly the same project like us and that we can try something new. I am excited about great experiences, new friendships and an unforgettable year.

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Leon Schroeder

21 | B. Sc. Biology | Semester: 4

This is the first chance I got to take part in the iGEM competition and I am looking forward to face the challenges of working as a team. I want to learn how to work in a laboratory independently, communicate effectively with the team and organize a small group more efficiently. Particularly exciting for me is the cooperation with students from other departments and other iGEM teams.

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Levin Hafa

23 | M. Sc. Technical Biology | Semester: 2

This year, I am participating for the first time in iGEM because I am convinced that I'll learn a lot beyond lab work. I also find it exciting to work in a team to overcome the challenges and problems of such a large project, which takes several months. I participate in sponsoring because I think that I can gain new experiences, one cannot acquire during scientific studies. I also look forward to getting to know current research at exhibitions and symposia, making new contacts and growing with the team through socializing events.

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Luca Brenker

20 | B. Sc. Biology | Semester: 4

This is my first time attempting iGEM and I look forward to work with a team of learned students on a self-chosen Project. Within the upcoming year, I gained many experiences in self-managed lab work, time management and many interdisciplinary fields, such as finances or Human Practices. I do believe this year’s team is very eager to create a successful project that might get far in the competition. I can't wait to have a fun and educating experience offside my regular studies!

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Maria Jelena Musillo

22 | M. Sc. Technical Biology | Semester: 2

My name is Maria Musillo and I am studying Technical Biology in the 2nd master semester. I`ve only gotten positive feedback about iGEM from my fellow students, especially because they had learned a lot. Therefore, I am really pleased to be working with a group in the laboratory and I am also looking forward to the challenges which are sure to appear. I am curious about how the project will develop and hope to gain new experiences that I can apply afterwards in my biology study. Mainly, I will work in the laboratory and in the sponsoring-team.

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Maurice Knebl

22 | B. Sc. Chemistry | Semester: 6

A friend of mine, studying Biomolecular Engineering, told me about the iGEM-project last year. When an e-mail was sent, this year, also inviting students of chemistry in particular to join the iGEM-team, my decision was made. From this project, I expect good independent work, alone and in groups, and a well-made conclusion in Boston.

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Peter Gockel

20 | B. Sc. Biology | Semester: 4

This year is my first time participating in iGEM and I look forward to work on an interesting self-chosen project with students from different degree courses and semesters. Within the upcoming year, I hope to gain many experiences and knowledge about the work in the lab and about working on a self-managed project. I am looking forward to have an exciting and successful year.

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Sergei Senger

23 | M. Sc. Technical Biology | Semester: 2

I've joined the iGEM Team, because I want to work on an interesting, self-chosen project with motivated fellow students. Additionally, I hope to perfect my knowledge and skill in molecular biology with this contest and to think outside of the box of my own course of study due to the interdisciplinarity. I'm looking forward to a challenging and a fun time with the iGEM Group!

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Theresa Wörmann

21 | B. Sc. Biomolecular Engineering | Semester: 4

When former iGEM team members talked about their projects they have motivated me with their enthusiasm to join the iGEM team this year. Even if it requires a lot of time, I will gain a lot of experience, which I am going to use in my further studies. I am looking forward to making new friends and to grow together into a great team.

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Victor Macarrón Palacios

23 | M. Sc. Technical Biology | Semester: 2

After having heard a lot about iGEM during my studies, I now see the opportunity to join this team. I'm excited to be part of a long-term project, which is designed by us. I look forward to both laboratory and team work and I expect to complete our project successfully. Furthermore, I wish to gain new knowledge and experience in the laboratory, as well as a pleasant and friendly working atmosphere with the team.

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Yannick Kristiansen

23 | M. Sc. Biomolecular Engineering | Semester: 2

For me, iGEM is an opportunity. I will participate in the competition for the second time this year, my first time was in 2016 and I definitely had a great time back then. I learned unbelievably much in just that short year, I found a lot of new friends and the Giant Jamboree was a great experience! One of the many reasons why I learned so much back then have been the older teammates, which have been part of iGEM in the years before. This year I am, as our lab leader, one of these older teammates and I'm eager to help the new ones on their journey through iGEM. Furthermore, I still think that I can learn valuable skills for my future by participating for the second time. All in all, iGEM is mostly about having fun while learning a lot of cool new stuff and social skills and I am not going to waste that opportunity.

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Yannik Käseberg

22 | B. Sc. Biomolecular Engineering | Semester: 4

Even before I started my studies, I had the possibility to get some insights on the project iGEM during a lecture about my study program at the study fair "Hobit" in Darmstadt. I was amazed, what a group of students has already achieved with the project. I was so impressed, that I decided to join the project this year. I am looking forward to the challenge of working independently in a team on a project, in which no one tells us what we have to do and I am curious to see how far we can go. Above all, I focus on laboratory work and I am motivated to learn individual working structures and to gain experience in the area of Human Practices.

I am looking forward to have an exciting and successful year with the iGEM family :)

Das ist unser Team!