Helping other teams
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”Helen Keller
BioBrick Tutorial with SDU-Denmark and UNIK-Copenhagen
The DTU BioBuilders 2016 hosted a BioBrick workshop during the Spring (May 6th - May 8th) for the other Danish iGEM teams; SDU-Denmark & UNIK-Copenhagen.
The scope of the workshop was to introduce all three teams to the BioBrick standard, get a feel of working with it in the laboratory and get to know the other Danish iGEM teams. During the weekend we had planned different lectures that all contributed to a better understanding of BioBricks and iGEM in general.
Our supervisor, Christopher Workman, gave a judging perspective on the iGEM competition and we discussed the gold medal requirements. iGEM alumni Pernille Neve Myers and Viktor Hesselberg-Thomsen from DTU BioBuilders 2015 held a lecture about BioBricks and 3A Assembly along with exciting exercises in the laboratory. The tutorial also had another aspect, namely the design and development of the wiki. Here, we had this years SDU-Denmark team give us a presentation of general advices for a good wiki and alumnus Mads Anderson introduced the “Wiki-Wizard”.
Beside having an educational weekend, we had a lot of fun and got to know the other iGEM teams in Denmark!
The weekend was a great success and gave the Danish teams a great foundation for collaboration and fun during other meetups and during our projects. In order to assure that next year's Biobuilders could make it even better, we asked everyone for feedback and had a follow up presentation:
In July, we received a request for help from team Uppsala. Team Uppsala wanted to test their microfluidic devices in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms. However, the team did not have a yeast lab at their university and lacked some necessary components in order to work with yeast thus we sent two Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains, W1588-4A and W1588-4C, in order to help the Uppsala team with the testing of their method in a eukaryotic organism.
Furthermore, we sent the team two shuttle vectors, pRS415 and pRS423, a high copy-number and a low copy-number vector, respectively, which the team has used to perform their tests in yeast.
SDU-Denmark and UNIK-Copenhagen
In August, the bioinformaticians from DTU BioBuilders, SDU-Denmark and UNIK-Copenhagen arranged a meeting for discussing ideas on how to apply mathematical modelling to each other’s projects.
SDU-Denmark and UNIK-Copenhagen explained their issues, and the DTU BioBuilders suggested suitable models based on systems of differential equations, that were well-received by both teams.
Furthermore, the DTU BioBuilders explained the genome-scale model (GSM) concept and received reasonable questions and suggestions from the other teams.
Getting help ourselves
We tried to insert chromoproteins into the chlorampenicol backbone pSB1C3, but without success. Therefore, we contacted team Uppsala in order to get some help. Since the team had chromoproteins in stock from prior iGEM Uppsala teams, they helped us moving one of the chromoproteins from the pSB1A3 backbone into the pSB1C3 backbone.
We also contacted SDU-Denmark about expression of chromoproteins in pSB1C3. SDU-Denmark gave us some advice and told us to use another promoter in order to express the chromoproteins.
Nordic iGEM Conference
In June, DTU BioBuilders went to the Nordic iGEM Conference (NiC) in Stockholm hosted by team Stockholm. During the weekend, DTU BioBuilders connected and shared their projects with the other Nordic teams. DTU BioBuilders presented their project at a mini-Jamboree, where the requirements set by iGEM Headquarters were in focus. The mini-Jamboree gave DTU BioBuilders the opportunity to get a feel of the big iGEM competition in Boston and refine their project.
Besides the mini-Jamboree and two workshops, Ethics and Speculative Design of Synthetic Biology, there was also time for barbeques and other social activities to get to know the other teams.
Human Practice Workshop
UNIK-Copenhagen hosted a Human Practice workshop in August where the DTU BioBuilders attended together with SDU-Denmark and Chalmers-Gothenburg. The workshop was very useful and a great success, and DTU BioBuilders were involved in patent reflections, public speaking, ethics, philosophy, and human practices in general.
The European iGEM Experience
In July, iGEM EVRY and iGEM IONIS hosted a big gathering in Paris for many of the European iGEM teams.
DTU BioBuilders attended this big gathering and presented and opposed their project to the other teams. It was a great occasion to share ideas and explore new possibilities about our project. Furthermore, the team had two interesting talks about synthetic biology, where they learned about challenges, risks and the economical aspect of synthetic biology.