Through collaboration, BNU-China has experienced substantial development in our project SLIM and has been sincerely contributing our own thoughts and knowledge to iGEM community. We participated in three meetups and collaborated with several teams


Hosting Beijing Regional Meetup

We hosted a meetup at Beijing Normal University on July 6th 2019, providing a communication platform for several iGEM teams. We invited iGEMers from Peking, Jiangnan-China, JNU-Chinato explain our projects to each other, which is conductive to mutual learning and fostered collaborations between us.

★ Team projects

Peking: Peking has been working on a dCas9-based DNA replication control system to precisely regulate cell growth rate. They utilized dCas9 to target the DNA replication origin reversibly, giving rise to prospect of controlling plasmid copy number and gene expression variation.However, they had difficulty in seeking a more widespread and specific application of their technique and expected advice on that.

PekingJiangnan-China: According to the presentation of Jiangnan-China, they modified Bacillus subtilis 168 to produce surfactin, one of the strongest surfactants.They were in search of a saccharides induced promoter to regulate the production as needed.

JNU-China: Based on thorough investigation, JNU-China put forward the idea of manipulating L/D glutamate ratio to confer γ-polyglutamic acid (γ-PGA) diverse characteristics, expanding applications of this biopolymer. In demand of simulating various IPTG concentrations corresponding to the amount of enzymes synthesized, they required assistance with modelling.

★ What we gained

We then exchanged our experience in team management, lab management, modelling, experiments and human practice.

  • Cheng Li, instructor of Peking, pointed out that invertion of our bilateral switch maybe in disorder after a series of function execution. However, he also inferred that the bilateral switch would reset itself overnight, which would be part of our verification.
  • We are advised to check whether there is another binding site of integrase in genome, which we have carried out later.
  • We are advised to test sensitivity of the glucose inhibitory promoter rpoH under different glucose concentration, as we already accomplished to characterize our part.
  • Thanks to Peking, who applied recombinase system in 2017, shared their experience and reached agreement with us on collarboration.
  • We Gave advice on modelling to JNU-China.


Attending meetup held by BIT-China

We attended a meetup at Beijing Institution of Technology on August 6th 2019, which is held by BIT-China. Together with Peking, Tsinghua-A, Tsinghua, OUC-China, CAU_China, UCAS-China and BIT-China, we presented our projects and answered questions from the audience. We changed our opinions on the eight diverse projects and helped each other with troubleshooting.

★ What we gained

It is worth mentioning that we explored potential to collaborate with UCAS-China. UCAS-China has been working on a thermosensitive switch to release drug under specified temperature, which can be used in our kill switch to avoid environment contamination. Furthermore, their chassis Nissle 1917, a probiotic separated from human intestine, applied to our SLIM with its advantages of easy colonization in the gut without immunogenicity.


Attending sixth Conference of China iGEMer Community

We attended the sixth Conference of China iGEMer Community (CCiC) in Shenzhen from August 19th to 23th. We benefited a lot in this conference.

★ What we gained

  • Rehearsing in a fashion same as giant jamboree process, we presented our project SLIM in public, answered questions to judges and audience. Thanks to this experience, we were able to look back on our work and reorganize our thoughts.
  • We displayed our poster to 70 iGEM teams, enhancing our capacity of expounding our project.
  • We attended Headquarter Face to Face on August 20th, communicating with Asian ambassador, Dorothy Zhang. We were aware of tips on the competition, including methods of demonstration, how to accomplish integrated HP, the differences between parts for three medals and so on.
  • In modelling session, Pekingand Fudan-TSIshared their experience in modelling, enlightening us on where to model, what methods to use. Bionumbers, a data source recommended by them was searched for to find parameters in our beta oxidation model.
  • Prof. Ruipeng Lei gave a lecture, which centered on ethical and governance issues in synthetic biology. We realized the burden of biosafety on our shoulders, to provide the society with more useful products while not increasing the risk. Consequently, we paid more attention to our safety module.
  • Judges pointed out some shortcomings of our project, made some suggestions on experiment, presentation and human practice, which are instructive in making further improvements.


Receiving SHSBNU-China

At the early stage of project designing, high school team SHSBNU-China sought for suggestions on their project PROBE, Plasmid Recorder of Biological Events. Learning about their needs, we gladly invited them to our lab where we share our opinion on their project.

On July 24th, after watching them present their design, which aimed to monitor extracellular information and record it on DNA by using recombinase or CRISPR base-editor, we had a detailed discussion on the background, mechanism, as well as validity of their design, during which we proposed setting different thresholds with different outputs in their reporter to achieve more intuitive measurement.


Collaboration with Peking

Thanks to Beijing Regional Meetup, we established communication with Peking, who had experience in using recombinase systems in their previous iGEM project and their parts would be of much help to our project. As we turned to Peking, they kindly provided us with their parts BBa_K2243006, BBa_K2243007, BBa_K2243010 and BBa_K2243011, which proof to be crucial to our verification experiments.


Collaboration with QHFZ-China

In October, team QHFZ-China reached out to us for help on their modelling. Their project focused on detecting and eliminating uric acid (UA) in the blood of hyperuricemia and gout patients. Gladly, we received them and helped them check and run their model using software. With our assistance, the modelling team of QHFZ-China successfully figured out thresholds for UA detection and elimination initiation in their project.

Meanwhile, we exchanged our experience in parts designing with QHFZ-China and shared with them our understanding on part improvements, which could be beneficial for their meeting the medal criterion.


Collaboration with UCAS-China

During the meetup held by BIT-China, we listened to presentation of UCAS-China learned their usage of strain E. coli Nissle 1917 as a chassis. As a probiotic strain derived from human intestine, E. coli Nissle 1917 does not easily trigger immune response and is therefore more readily colonized in the intestine. Considering its multiple advantages, it was considered a more suitable chassis in our project. In answer to our request, UCAS-China generously offered E. coli Nissle to our team. In later communication on similarities between our projects, we shared protocols of testing the efficiency of kill switch, where we shared with them our experience in calculating CFUs instead of measuring OD600 and they enlightened us to calculate escape rate as a way to characterize our kill switch.

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