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iGEM Thessaly

Our collaboration with team Thessaly started early in the summer when they informed us about their intention to improve part BBa_K22030059 which was introduced by a past EPFL team. Immediately, we sent them E.coli M15 strain cells with pQE-30 T7 RNAP plasmid. We also gave them our protocols for cell lysis and transformation to competent cell so they could compare them with the ones they had already

As we looked into their project we realised that the methods they implement are quite similar to ours, giving us the opportunity to troubleshoot each others project. For example, we both chose RPA to amplify DNA. Both teams were struggling with extra unwanted bands on their agarose gel after electrophoresis. We ended up proposing using sequencing to determine if the correct product had been created.

In October, we suggested having a skype call to check on each team’s progress and exchange a couple last-minute tips to optimize our final results. We had been having trouble analysing our gels as RPA is prone to non-specific bands when the DNA template concentration is low. To better separate the non-specific amplification bands from our amplicon, the Thessaly team suggested running our RPA product on a very high percentage gel (3-4%) at low voltage (70V) and for a long time (2h). This technique ended up being very useful to clearly differentiate between the 3 amplification product for our multiplexing experiment.

We also exchanged our idea on how to design and test toeholds. Their team used 7.5 µL reactions which tends to give a more stable result than our 5 µL reactions. They also told us that adding spacers in between the T7 promoter and the toehold enhances the expression rate. On our side, we reassured Thessaly that ssDNA can also be used as a trigger for toehold regulation.

iGEM Zurich

On Monday 19th of August, we participated to the first Swiss Meetup. The main goal of this event was to help UZurich team, which is new to the competition, plan on how they could meet all the gold medal requirements.
The day started out with a presentation of all the projects, which let everyone familiarize themselves with the other teams’ work. This intimate knowledge we gained of UZurich’s project is what allowed us to give them personalized feedback on the issues they were facing.

After a short break our team made a lecture on “How to write a good part's page on the registry”. Konstantinos

explained the registry’s layout, what is expected and what are the different difficulties. This was helpful for both ETH Zurich and UZurich team , as they realized how much time and effort should be put into it.

ETH Zurich explained how to make a good integrated human practice. They talked about their plan and what are the different approach to it.

UZurich presented how they planned to fill in the requirements for the gold medal. They were struggling with the integrated human practices. To help them, ETH Zurich and our team gave them a few pieces of advice.

This meetup was a great opportunity meet the other Swiss teams. We had a great day sharing our iGEM experience with them.

iGEM Geneva

On Saturday 28th of September, we welcomed the team UniGE-Geneva on our campus. Since it is their first year as an iGEM team, they asked us to mentor them, and help them to prepare for the Giant Jamboree.

As a recurrent team we have more insight on the competition. We have the chance to have a supervisor familiar with iGEM, which helped them with fundraising, and previous team members as advisors. Moreover, we learned valuable information during the various meetups our team attended..

Geneva presented us their project. It strongly reminded us one we saw in the SynBio Gone Viral meetup in Leuven. The judges found it too academic for iGEM, we decided to extend this comment to them as well..

We also wanted to share with them pieces of advice for their next year's team. We suggested them to attend as many meetups as possible and collaborate with more teams. By experience, we found out that it is an excellent way to practice for the Giant Jamboree and have honest reviews. It is also the best way to exchange ideas with other teams, and meet them before Boston..

Overall, we are happy to have hosted them. We enjoyed helping this new team as much as we enjoyed meeting with them.

InParis European Meetup

The 25-27 July we attended the InParis European Meetup organized by Pasteur Paris, Ionis Paris, GO Paris Saclay and Evry Paris Saclay. It was the first time we presented our project and created our poster. The judges critics and comments showed what needed to be changed and improved in our presentation.

SynBio Gone Viral Meetup

The 20-22 September we attended the SynBio Gone Viral Meetup in Leuven, Belgium organized by KU Leuven, Aachen and GO Paris Saclay. They organised interesting talks from professors, and gave us workshops. We particularly liked the workshop from the Achen team on how to make a great presentation, we learned a lot and we will use their advice for the Jamboree. We also presented our projects in front of the other teams and judges, they gave us useful critics that we’ll take into account.

We enjoyed this meetup, we learned a lot and had the opportunity to meet other teams.