Team:Toulouse France/Attributions

iGEM Toulouse 2016

The iGEM competition is rich in acquiring knowledge as well as in emotions. The emotional part can be correlated with the success of the lab experimentation, as it soars when cloning are successful, and declines when they fails. It is a real roller coaster!

More seriously, we have acquired many skills throughout this competition. In addition of the scientific knowledge, we improved our communication skills. The dialog to the general public, about our project and synthetic biology, is an important part of this competition. Moreover, as media were interested in our project, we made several interviews and thus we trained to vulgarize scientifics subjects. As we needed to find sponsors we also became experts in phone harassment.

This project about the Lascaux cave was borned in April 2016, when we chose our subject for the iGEM competition. All the members of our team have assumed every aspect of the project, from the beginning to the end of it. The main phases of this project are quoted below, but more details about the task repartition are given in the last part of the page:

  • The bibliographic phase, to get more information about the Lascaux cave ecosystem
  • The design of our constructions, and the experiments in the lab
  • The wiki construction and the modelling
  • The fundraising and the sponsors seeking
  • The communication with the media

This amazing experience could not be possible without the help we received, and thus we would like to thank all the persons who contributed in the Paleotilis project, by sharing their experience, their knowledge, and their interest.

General support

Our thanks to:

M. Kaymeuang Cam for leading this project, for his advice and his availability.

M. Brice Enjalbert and Gilles Truan, who devoted so much time helping and advising us in the project.

All our advisors who helped us develop our ideas during the brainstorming, and volunteered their knowledge of synthetic biology, microbiology…

The LISBP that, as a financial and technical support, gave us a full access to the lab and the material we needed, allowing us to work under very good conditions all through the summer.

The INSA that let us work all the summer in the well equipped labs.

Our sponsors, for the financial support that enabled us to give reality to our project.

We also would like to thank the people who helped us during our brainstorming sessions to find the most appropriate subject for our project: Stéphane Génin, Nemo Peters, Christophe Roux, Matthieu Arlat, Alice Boulanger, Bernard Martin, Marie Renault, Valérie Réat, Georges Czaplicki, Marc Prudhomme, and Marie Poueymiro

Project support

The Lascaux cave is a world heritage that is accessible to a few number of people, and reviews about it are quite rare. We could not lead our project without the help of persons working on this cave. First of all we would like to thank Muriel Mauriac, who, as a Lascaux cave conservator, guided us at the beginning of our project about the Lascaux historic. Special thanks to Yvan Moënne-Loccose, microbiologist of the Lascaux cave, who helped us analyzing the state of the cave and gave us precious scientific remarks concerning our project. Jean-Jacques Cleyet-Merle, as director of the national prehistory museum, encouraged us in our activity.

Predation support

The aim of the predation module was to improve the efficiency of Bacillus subtilis to target bacteria and to use them as carbon sources. Getting Pseudomonas fluorescens strains was essential, as it is one of the microorganisms present in the Lascaux cave. Marie-Line Daveran-Mingot and Marie-Pierre Castanié provided us several strains of this bacteria. The construction of this part was realized by Gibson cloning. We are grateful to Yvan Cam, who took time to work with us on this cloning and helped us with the problems met.

Antifungal support

Working on fungi was a necessity to test the module associated. Christophe Roux helped us by providing fungi strains, and advising us about protocols and the best ways to use them.

The 2014 iGEM Toulouse team worked on antifungals and thus made construction allowing the secretion of several molecules. Their advice and their experience were useful and helped us being more efficient on the experiments of the antifungals module. Special thanks to Mathieu Fournié and Pierre Reitzer.

Fundraising help

Our thanks to M. Claude Maranges, who helped us by giving us new lines of search for sponsoring. We also thank David Cribbs and Marie-Line Daveran-Mingot who helped us fundraising.

Lab support

We would like to thank Jara Radeck, from the iGEM Munich 2012 team, for providing us shuttle plasmids between Bacillus subtilis and Escherichia coli bacteria, from their own project. The plasmids are the following: pSBBS0K-P, pSBBS1C, pSBBS2E and pSBBS4S. Our thanks to Jean-Philippe Castex (LIPM/CNRS-INRA Toulouse) for advicing us about B. subtilis protocols.

The iGEM Munich 2014 team worked with the sdp operon. For our predation module, Philipp Popp accepted to provide us with strains containing constructions with sdpI.

We also would like to address our special thanks to all the researchers who gave us crucial strains and plasmids for our Paleotilis project.

  • Christophe Roux (LRSV): fungi strains Aspergillus niger ATCC 9642 CBS 246.65, Talaromyces funiculosus ATCC 11797 CBS 235.94, Chaetomium globosum ATCC 6205 CBS 148.51
  • Marie-Line Daveran-Mingot and Marie-Pierre Castanié (LISBP- unit EAD4 and IBCG): SBW25 Pseudomonas fluorescens strain.
  • Mathieu Fournié and Arthur Sarrade-Loucheur (LISBP - unit EAD11): DH5 alpha.
  • Mathieu Fournié (LISBP - unit EAD11): WT 168 Bacillus subtilis strain.
  • Nathalie Campo (LMGM/CNRS - University of Toulouse 3): Bacillus subtilis strains (recA- and Spo0-).
  • Thierry Doan (LCB/CNRS - Univ de la Méditerranée et de Provence/Marseille): Bacillus subtilis materials.

Difficult technique support

Our thanks to Thomas Lautier, Stéphanie Heux, Brice Enjalbert, Kaymeuang Cam, Gilles Truan, Mathieu Fournié, Pierre Reitzer and Arthur Sarrade-Loucheur, who were present every time we needed advice, and every time we needed help to solve experimental problems.

Project advisors

Kaymeuang Cam, our principal advisor. He supervised the project from February to October. The pertinence of his advice, the time he dedicated to our project, and his experience as a research scientist were precious as well as constructive for the project progress.

Brice Enjalbert, one of our scientific project manager and not the least. More than his experience in the iGEM competition, it is his constant presence during the whole project that ensured a good follow-up.

Gilles Truan, our scientific project manager. He brought to the team his skills and background about the competition and synthetic biology. Thank you for your support and help.

Pierre Reitzer, consultant from the iGEM Toulouse 2014 team. He lived the iGEM competition as a student in 2014, and could step back and advise us in function of his own experience.

Stéphanie Heux, consultant of our team. With her enthusiasm and her good mood, she gave us motivation as well as advice.

Thomas Lautier, consultant of our team. His involvement in the scientific side as well as in the Human Practices side of our project was invaluable.

Arthur Sarrade-Loucheur, Mathieu Fournié, Alexia Dumas, Florence Bordes, ...

Wiki support

Our friend and teammate Soukaïna Timouma is studying bioinformatics at the University Paul Sabatier of Toulouse, and she was able to create on her own and to upload all the wiki. We thank her for their heavy and time-consuming work. The team presentation page contains drawings of the team members made by Esther Coutant, and we are grateful to her.

Presentation coaching

Having a good presentation at the Giant Jamboree is important as it represents the purpose of the project. Brice Enjalbert, throughout its three-year experience in this competition, was a source of valuable tips. Special thanks to Kaymeuang Cam for his precious advice and his constructive feedback.

Modelling support

The creation of the predator-prey model took time, and Soukaïna Timouma, member of the iGEM Toulouse team and student in bioinformatics, could not face with both the modelisation and the wiki designing without help. We would like to address a special thank to Serge Mazeres and to Arnaud Volle, from the IPBS laboratory, for their help on the use of the Blender software. Your help was precious for us.

Human Practices support

In the frame of the human practices part, we developed a theatre play about GMOs, which can conduct to a debate. Alexia Dumas (PhD student) was really involved in this project, and it was successful only thanks to her as she led it entirely. Our script evolved under the supervision of Matthieu Pouget, artistic director and teacher at the University of Toulouse 2. It was important for our team to explain to the general public what the synthetic biology is.
We also wanted to meet pupils in order to initiate them to the biology. As a result, we developed an educational kit that explains what DNA is and why it is important. This project was led by Arthur Sarrade-Loucheur (PhD student), who was rich in ideas and creativity.
During the iGEM adventure, we participated to several events in Toulouse, in particular one renowned event called La Nuit des chercheurs that gathers scientists from all fields. Thomas Lautier organized our participation at this event, and we are grateful for the time he invested in it.

Ethics support

We thank Vincent Grégoire-Delory, responsible of the ethics platform at Toulouse White Biotechnology, for advising us and discussing with us about the ethical reflections of our project.


A lot of different local newspapers were interested in Paleotilis. In this part, we would like to thank all the journalists who came to meet us:

  • Steven Burgess for his article on the website Plos Synbio Community
  • Bernard Davodeau for his article in the newspaper La Dépêche
  • Hélène Menal for her article in the newspaper 20 minutes
  • Pierre Andrieu for his article in the newspaper Le Parisien
  • Fleur Olaginier for her article in the newspaper La Dépêche
  • Christel Jacson-Allemand for her article on the website WikiAgri
  • Lascaux for the publication of our article on their blog
  • Pauline Ben Ali for interviewing us on the radio France Bleu and her article on their website
  • Amélie Phillipson for her article in the newspaper La Dépêche
  • Sirine Tijani for her TV report and her article on the channel France 3
  • Morgane Bouterre for her article in the newspaper Echosciences Occitanie
  • Armelle Parion for her article in the newspaper Sud Ouest

Communication support

Communication about our project and the synthetic biology is a major aspect of the iGEM competition. We are really grateful to Christelle Labruyère, communication officer of the LISBP, for her common sense and her tips to communicate with the general public.

Furthermore, the universities where we study are a precious help to mediatize our project, particularly throughout the social networks. Thus we are grateful to Chrystelle Bonnabau and Brigitte Taoui, communication officer at INSA Toulouse and at the Paul Sabatier university respectively, for their investment and their graciously contribution in goodies for the events in which we took part.

Our Ulule contributors, on the crowfunding plateform

Ulule is the first European crowdfunding website. We have posted our Paleotilis project on this site to collect funds for allowing at least one member of the team to participate to the Giant Jamboree. The collect was successful: we had 45 supporters and € 1,402 collected!

We warmly thank all the supporters, it was very encouraging to see that people mobilized for us!

We would like to address a special thank to:

Sabine Dieudonne, Magali Guillemot, Benoît Pons, Michel Dussauze, Melissa David, Clémence Dunand, Thomas Etcheberry, Manon Molina, Benoît Salles, Claude Maranges, Margaux Cescato, Dominique Duthu, Véronique Martinez, Bernard Martinez, Colette et Antoine Martinez, Ghislaine et André Smouts, Florence Smouts, Elodie Smouts, Nathalie Vazzoler, Willy Vaillant, Hassan Timouma, Thibault Corneloup, Monique Heitz, Françoise Bertanier, Fabienne Hérard, Pauline Trabuc, Louise Gody, Léa Rivault, Marine Pons, Hélène Martinez, Francis Minvielle, Sophie Bonnard, Julie de Stefano, Alice Paradisi, and the others anonymous donors….

Thanks and acknowledgements to all the other people who dedicated some time in order to make our iGEM experience a great one

We thank everyone who has contributed in some way to the project, thanks for the help and encouragement that made our project an unforgettable adventure.

Finally, we would like to acknowledge all of our team members: Manon Barthe, Eve Coutant, Anissa Dieudonne, Marine Dubois, Oumnia Karim, Fanny Leclerc, Camille Roux and Soukaïna Timouma. We worked hard on our wonderful project, and we spent so much time in the lab that now we know its interior in great detail! The lab has no more secret for us.
More specifically, we would like to thank our team members for their involvement in some precise functions:

  • Manon Barthe for her involvement as experiments chief
  • Eve Coutant for her thought about the ethical issues around our project
  • Anissa Dieudonne for her artistic sensibility and her time involved in our communication supports
  • Marine Dubois for the finance management of the team
  • Oumnia Karim for her writting and expression skills
  • Fanny Leclerc for taking in charge the communication aspects of our project
  • Camille Roux for the communication and interview with the media
  • Soukaïna Timouma for the time she spent in modelling our project, creating the wiki, and dealing with the media