Firstly, we established a collaboration with the IGEM TU Delft team, after realizing that our two projects had one component in common: Biosilica. Since we had already done an extended bibliography search on this topic, we helped them by sending them some links on refractive index measurement methods using the surface plasmon resonance technique, and a couple of other articles we believed could help their project. Additionally, we talked with them (via Skype) about the poly-silicate structure and the optical effects of biologically produced poly-silicate. Then we sent documents to help them for their literature search. In the biomineralization paper we pointed to them that the experiments (silification of wood in the laboratory, Gotze et al, pg 275) performed, and the analysis showed that materials that were deposited have a peak size of 20 nm or so, and spectral analysis shows absorption at 500 nm (similar to Opal). Some similar values of the optical characteristics of bimoneralized silica. Here is the references of these papers, click on the book to Download them:
Following an interview on Skype we also talked about laboratory manipulations. This led us to help them in protocols on labwork for their protein purification, we advised them to use a His-tag (A polyhistidine-tag or Histag) which is an amino acid motif in proteins that consists of at least six histidine residues, often inserted at the N- or C-terminus of the protein. Various purification kits for His-tagged proteins are available from Biorad, Qiagen, Sigma, GE Lifesciences, and others. We also helped them to develop a testing strategy for expression and validation of expression, especially with the choice of methods of induction (IPTG, growth curves, taking the OD (optical density) at different times, and methods of comparison whether or not there has been expression SDS-PAGE). For their protein purification, we advised them to use a His-tag.
We had a very fruitful collaboration with Paris Saclay iGEM team that resulted in the organization of the Ile De France meet-up. With Naiane, one of their team members in charge for communication, we decided to host an event where Parisian teams could have the opportunity to present their project in front of a public and jury, just like at the giant jamboree! The goal of this meeting was double: we both wanted to place teams in competition-like conditions, but we also wanted to socialize with the teams nearby in the Parisian region and have a great time. On both levels, the event was a complete success! Attending Teams were Paris Bettencourt, Paris Saclay, Ionis Paris, Evry, UPMC Paris, Marseille.
Together with iGEM Tianjin, iGEM Pittsburgh, IGEM ULV-LC-CV, iGEM Valencia UPV and iGEM Virginia, we created a grouping for questionnaire distribution. Each team created surveys about their project, about synthetic biology in general, or another related topic. The aim was to share the surveys from other teams online as much as possible in order to help them get as many replies as possible.
We had a nice collaboration with the iGEM EPFL team. We had a fun skype meeting during which they interviewed us, on our project, on how we were managing with organization, with team building, on our country and more! They transcribed our answers to fill their cool website « igem today » which offers an overview of the teams, their project and the daily life of iGEMers around the world.
We helped iGEM Groningen by completing and sharing their survey.
The Rathenau Institute “promotes" the formation of political and public opinion on science and technology. To this end, the Institute studies the organization and development of science systems, publishes about social impact of new technologies, and organizes debates on issues and dilemmas in science and technology. The institute is part of Synenergene, a European project that aims to foster an open dialogue on responsible research and innovation in synthetic biology (RRI). After winning the Synenergene grant for collaboration in Human Practices supported by iGEM, we worked with Mrs. Zoë Robaey from the Rathenau institute, who was a great help for the development of our application scenarios. Indeed, we had the opportunity to contact her by Skype and received her expert advice on anticipating events related to our project in the developed and developing countries. She also helped us to think about a techno moral scenario, with the aim being to anticipate protocols and actions in case of unexpected problems related to our project. Now we are able to answer these questions: • How to provide support to the population in case of panic? • How to provide maximum security for populations? • How to manage most effectively a problem with our kit? We want to especially thank the Rathenau Instituut for all their help during our project. To check out the results from this great collaboration, click our SCENARIOS.
Our team was fortunate to have several opportunities to meet with professionals. We had the chance to: • 1) Discuss our vision and project goals • 2) Learn from their expertise and use that knowledge to further develop our project • 3) Share ideas • 4) Make contacts for potential future collaborations. These encounters were valuable to us and greatly helped improve our project.
Civic Drone is a French company that specializes in designing and manufacturing non-military drones. Among other applications, their drones are currently being used to monitor nuclear power plants. In July, we met with the CEO of the company, Mr. Edouard Guilhot-Gaudeffroy and one of the company’s R&D engineers. They wholeheartedly shared with us their expertise about drone operations and running a company. During our Île-de-France Meet-up, co-organized with the Paris Saclay and IONIS teams, Civic Drone made a special appearance and presented one of their genuine drone models to iGEMers of Paris and Marseille!
Interstate Organization for Mosquito Control. The EID (Entente Interdépartementale de Démoustication / Interdepartmental agreement for mosquito control on the Mediterranean coast) is in charge of the fight against mosquito epidemics, which is recognized as a mission of public interest for the Ministry of Health in France. Therefore, EID is acting by delegation of authority, in a similar level as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US. We had a skype meeting and mail exchanges with Dr. Gregory Lambert, a medical coordinator and entomologist at EID. These interviews have allowed us to gather the opinion of field experts and to design our project so that it would best address the needs of professionals. This input enabled us to better take into account the mosquito's lifestyle and optimize our device’s safety features with regard to local populations. Dr. Lambert's professional opinion on the current methods used in the field, the materials for trapping and detection, safety procedures, protocols, coordination with the state and the health representatives, prevention of the public, data processing, and much more was extremely helpful while working on the practical application of our project in the field. Every aspect we discussed was an opportunity for us to both enhance our project and to benefit from constructive criticism about our device. Dr. Lambert told us that the method they used has been adapted to the current situation in France, but that our Mos(kit)o solution could be used in addition, or even completely replace theirs in the future, because it would be more precise and more adapted to such epidemics. He proposed to test our device in the field as soon as we develop a functioning kit, and he said that he was eager to stay informed about our future improvements.
Emergency Response to Biological Threats Unit Directed by Jean-Claudia Manuguerra This laboratory was created through the collaboration of the Ministry of Health and Institut Pasteur to deal with specific biological threats such as epidemics, accidents, and terrorist attacks. We presented our project in front of the members of CIBU and exchanged ideas about our method of detection, our global device, and the intellectual property protection offered at iGEM. It was a great opportunity to obtain advice from specialists in epidemics and entomology specialists, and we have stayed in contact with them ever since for their recommendations and additional information.
City of New Orleans Mosquito & Termite Control Board During the Zika Summit in Paris, we had the opportunity to present our project at the poster sessions. We met Dr. Claudia Riegel, Director of the City of New Orleans Mosquito & Termite Control Board and she engaged in an enthusiastic discussion on our project ideas in detail with us. She described to us the current mosquito issues New Orleans is facing. This was a great way for us to imagine real world applications of our project. (Since then, we have been in contact with her pertaining to a potential future collaboration where we could introduce our device in the field). We are currently processing reciprocal non-disclosure agreements.
We met Dr. Anna-Bella Failloux; entomologist, head of Arboviruses and Insect Vectors (AIV) research unit in the department of virology at Institut Pasteur; to have detailed information on mosquito ecology/habitat (types: aedes, culex) and behavior during feeding sorties (anthropophily, hematophagy).
Dr. Vanhomwegen is part of the CIBU, as the head of the viral identification Team. She gladly listened to a presentation we made to explain our project, and accepted to help us devise an immunological assay for our device.
La Paillase is self-described as a “multi-disciplinary network of laboratories providing the technical, legal and ethical framework for collaborative and open source projects, without discrimination based on age, diploma or income. It started as a squat in the Parisian suburbs in 2011 and is it now settled in Paris since 2014”. Our team had the chance to get a guided tour of the premises, and it is indeed a fantastic collaborative space, working like a big house where scientific labs coexist with a sewing workshop, a carpentry workshop, a startup company and study rooms! You can feel that the place is filled with creativity, and its occupants are constantly in contact with each other, sharing common spaces (kitchen, living room…). What was the most impressive feature in the lab section of La Paillasse is that they didn’t buy any of the lab equipment, they collected all of it from labs or hospitals that had no use for it anymore (sometimes in working order, sometimes not), and they repaired it all in order to set up a fully-functional laboratory. The three lawyers from our team (Claudia, Victoire and Victor) went to La Paillasse to meet Mr. Jonathan Keller, who is their “in-house lawyer“. Those discussions highlighted the interesting axes to build on in order to write our report about intellectual property in the framework of iGEM. Mr. Keller was the perfect interlocutor to go to because he and his teams work very closely on Open science problematics, on the proposal of a new legal Framework for Open Source Hardware. At the same time, he works closely with the Evry iGEM team, which regularly conducts experiments at La Paillasse. Mr. Keller's input was very enriching and allowed us to get a better grasp of the Open science problematics in the domain of synthetic biology, which will be developed in our IP report. He kindly agreed to take part in the Parisian meet-up that we organized. If you want to find out more about this place, you can visit their website here