We collaborated tightly with Wageningen UR and Pasteur Paris. Besides that, we also filled in a lot of surveys.
The collaboration between our team and the team from Wageningen consisted of two parts: Using a plate reader, they measured the spectrum of our fluorophores and in return, we imaged vescicles for them using transmission electron microscopy (TEM). You can read more about our collaboration on their wiki.
Transmission electron microscopy
The iGEM team of Wageningen wanted to encapsulate fluorophores in vesicles. To prove that they were indeed able to make the vesicles, they needed pictures made by Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) to confirm the presence of the vescicles and characterize them. Since the Wageningen team did not have access to a TEM, we made the images for them using the TEM. Electron microscopy is an imaging technique that can acquire images with resolutions far above the optical limit due to the small wavelength of electrons (Nellist, 2011). An electron gun forms an electron beam which is focused and accelerated by magnetic lenses. When the electrons reach the sample, the electrons that are scattered at a high angle are used to image the sample (Figure 1). We hope that Wageningen is happy with the nice pictures!
The emission spectrum of our fluorophore expressing cells was kindly measured by the Wageningen team in a plate reader. As their plate reader has a narrower bandwidth, the emission spectrum was nicely visible starting a few nanometers from the excitation wavelength. Thanks to the help of Wageningen, we were able to show that our newly developed BioBricks mVenus and mCerulean are successfully fluorescent!
The recorded spectra are shown in Figure 2 and 3. More information can be found in the results page.
At the European meetup in Paris we met the team of Pasteur from Paris, who were also using the enzyme silicatein. We discussed our projects and agreed on helping each other. When we returned from Paris we had a nice Skype call with Pasteur on silicatein. Pasteur helped us by providing us with documentation and information on the characteriztion of polysilicate. We helped Pasteur by explaining them about our methods and we recommended them a kit they could use to determine the enzyme kinetics of silicatein. For our collaboration they gave us a badge. You can also read about our collaboration on their wiki.
We filled in surveys for a lot of iGEM teams, we hope that by filling in these surveys we helped them with their projects.
We filled in surveys for:
- XMU China about antibiotics and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
- Virginia about biocontainment. They gave us a badge!
- Göttingen about vitamin B12.
- Groningen about data encription. They also gave us a badge!
- Munich United about enabling factors in biotech. They too gave us a badge!
We also helped team Aachen with their survey by spreading it on our twitter to our 600 followers.
The European Experience
The European Experience was a meetup of around 25 European iGEM teams from eleven different countries, including four teams from the Netherlands. The meetup was in Paris and it was organized by two Parisean teams, team IONIS and team Évry. It started with a gathering where everyone could meet and talk about their project. Immediately people showed great interest in our project and wanted to know everything about our biolasers and lenses. We found out that the Pasteur iGEM team is also going to work with silicate, and we had lunch with some of their team members to discuss about our projects.
After lunch there were two conferences about synthetic biology, one that focused on challenges and risks of doing research and one that focused on the economics of synthetic biology. At the end of the conference Randy Rettberg, the president of iGEM, talked about why he started the iGEM competition and about the values of sharing information between the teams.
On Saturday evening there was a party for all the European iGEM teams. First there was a possibility to watch the football match between Italy and Germany and later that night the party really started. There was beer and a deejay, so our team really enjoyed ourselves. Later on the evening there even was a real fire breather!
Our team had a great time at the meetup, and you can also read about our touristic activities in Paris over here.
- Nellist, P. D. (2011). The principles of STEM imaging. In Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy (pp. 91-115). Springer New York.