Team:Tianjin/Human Practices

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Abstract : The idea of our project was originated from the Nobel Price in Medicine in 2017. We first conducted a survey about how the biochronometer can influence people’s life and what is the public expectation for biological techniques to solve the problem. Inspired by that, we aimed to prove that the heterologous KaiABC oscillator could periodically regulate gene expression of required production as well in our project. Subsequently, we made a technical evaluation of the project results and conducted market analysis to select subsequent periodic expression products. We also visited Institute of Industrial Biotechnology to seek advice from experts and learn the procedure of industry-university-research cooperation. According to the investigation, we have revised project design and tried to pick out the application of our project.


Our project stems from the 2017 Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine for three scientists’ discovery in the circadian rhythm of drosophila. The biological clock is closely related to all living species in nature. Its homeostasis and regulation are related to people's normal work and life, and even psychological emotion. Considering the huge impact, in combination with the literature, we made a survey to explore the current situation of people's sleep patterns in modern society and the impact of the biological clock on people's life. From the data, it was indicated that with the change of modern life style, people of all ages and working in all walks of life have some sleep disorder problems, which reduces their work efficiency during the day and even affects their mental state and emotion. In addition, although there are many natural methods to regulate the body clock to restore normal conditions, most people have difficulty in adjusting their sleep rhythm through their own efforts due to limitations such as living and working environments. Therefore, the development of sleep medicine becomes particularly critical.

Design and Analyze

Inspired by the idea, we did a lot of research and finally chose the famous KaiABC system in S.cyanobacteria, a simple but efficient oscillator. We proposed a concept of using a simple and efficient biological clock system of prokaryotes to regulate the complex system of eukaryotes so as to change the metabolism and get the products in periodic expression. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the internal circadian mechanism appears to be vague and unobvious, making it a perfect chassis for our research. Therefore, we hope to introduce the biological clock of cyanobacteria into eukaryotic Saccharomyces cerevisiae to regulate circadian rhythm, and acquire healthy products to promote sleeping or maintain excitement at regular intervals, hence helping individual form a healthy schedule.

In seek of proper product application, we visited the Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. With the goal of industrialized production and application, the institute has established joint laboratories with a number of domestic and foreign food, advanced biological materials, medicine and other enterprises, and has a complete and sucessful transformation model of achievements, building the bridge between laboratory research and factory production. During the visit to the research institute, the teacher put forward quantities pf opinions on the transformation of the results of our project, and suggested that we consider taking psychotropic drugs like melatonin, limonene and caffeine as the follow-up product research.

Later on, we did thorough product research on limonene, caffeine, leptin and melatonin in terms of their mechanism, effects and market demands. Based on the basic research results conversion theory, we made the sample table as follows and made detailed application investigation and feedback analysis from the perspectives of physical and chemical properties, application, mechanism of action, project correlation, product market status and consumer feedback. Click the name above and you can download the completed tables. At last, we decided to use limonene and caffeine for novel applications. Limonene can be produced during the night to promote biological sleeping pattern, while caffeine takes effect during the day and help maintain arousal.

Research of Further Product Application

Product and its physical & chemical properties


Product uses


Product mechanism


How is it related to this project


products on the market


Current research progress


Market demand


Feedbacks from Consumers




Joint Report

During the investigation, we found that although there is a huge public demand for regulating the body clock and sleep medications, most people prefer to use natural methods. This may result from the concern about side effects of medicine, which can be used inappropriately to disrupt the original sleep rhythm. Therefore, a more stable system and chassis to produce the drug was needed. This is also consistent with the original intention of using Saccharomyces cerevisiae. As a common eukaryote, yeast maintains a relatively stable level of ATP/ADP, which will help KaiABC system to maintain a stable periodic oscillation

In the process of completing the project, we encountered many difficulties, the most important of which was the project result transformation. Through communication with other teams, we learned that most basic research teams have follow-up application problems. Therefore, we propose joint research on the transformation of basic research results of biotechnology. Thanks to effective division of labor, we had a clear understanding of the general approach and general mode of achievement transformation theoretically. Then based on the characteristics of iGEM competition, we expanded the concepts, such as the result disclosure, technology transformation, and proposed the idea which will help team members organize the investigation activities to improve the practical application of the project. By following these ideas, the joint research team successfully completed the follow-up application design, with good results. We sorted out theoretical data and research experience into reports, and shared them with more schools. Meanwhile, we also provided reference and guidance to other teams in the future to design projects and organize research.

More details about our cooperation can be found in this page.