Collaboration with other teams encourages greater creativity, which helps to solve problems that are otherwise difficult. It inspires participants to engage and share their research and also encourages good sportsmanship. Thus, we set out in search of collaboration projects that would allow us to make use of the benefits of collaboration.


Minterlab - a collaboration project with SoundBio Lab, USA, was our way of educating young minds from elementary schools around the corner about synthetic biology and genetic engineering. Minterlab, short for Mini-Interlab, was held as a 3-day camp session for the sixth and seventh graders of Kendriya Vidyalaya, IISc.

The event revolved around a flexible curriculum on the basics of synthetic biology and a final experiment, details of which were sent to us by SoundBio Lab. iGEM IISc added our touch to it, to make the syllabus a better fit to the particular crowd of curious minds who attended the event. The session involved several practical demonstrations and hands-on experience with various lab techniques. Through Minterlab, the students were given an immersive experience into the field of synthetic biology, a unique opportunity that we believe augmented their interest and hopefully sparked ideas for the future.

Mentoring SNU team

The hardware model we planned to develop for iGEM is multifaceted and caught the interest of certain teams. One of these was the iGEM SNU team, whose project also involved co-culture (of algae and bacteria) to develop tools for bioremediation of estrogenic pollutants. We shared multiple engaging Skype conversations about our project ideas, about co-cultures and our plans for human practices. We had the chance to continue this stimulating discussion later during the ‘All India iGEM Meet’ where we also discussed mathematically modelling a co-culture system. Team SNU was participating in iGEM for the first time and as an experienced Indian iGEM team, agreed to guide and help them. We helped them in completion of some of the iGEM deliverables and essentials. In the process, we also received some regional outlook on the issues both of us were facing and discovered better strategies to solve them.

IISER-Pune: Bellandur Lake

Team IISER Pune India 2019 is working on developing an alternative tool for directed evolution so that it can be performed faster and more conveniently. The tool is a mutagenic plasmid that allows the alteration of mutation rates in E.coli using blue light as an external physical inducer. As proof of principle, the team wanted to test its performance by evolving a heavy metal remediating gene to higher efficiency. They chose lead as studies showed that lead pollution was highest in one of the local rivers of Pune. They decided that it was a good idea to analyze water samples taken from water bodies across the country to get an idea of the lead pollution levels across the country. They asked Indian iGEM teams to bring water samples to the All India iGEM Meetup.

We participated in this collaboration by bringing water samples from our local water body, the infamous Bellandur Lake, and giving them all the necessary information they required.

Team Dusseldorf: B. subtilis as a model organism

We had a delightful conversation with members of Dusseldorf and exchanged our project ideas. Since both our projects dealt with the usage of B. subtilis, and given the experience they had gained using B. subtilis as a model organism in their previous project, we wanted to know the most suitable plasmid and strain. They suggested strains deficient in proteases for the increased production of protein. They were helpful and even ready to send us the plasmid (pMUL1) if we weren’t able to procure it from other sources.

iGEM IISc’s ‘Sorting CereMonera’ challenge:

iGEM has always been a platform for students to both showcase their scientific expertise and to spread the ideas of synthetic biology.

Keeping the second objective in mind, we initiated this Instagram challenge to make scientific knowledge more relatable and understandable to the general public. This project proposed to combine science with fiction and art. Harry Potter, an evergreen fictional series and Game of Thrones, the most sensational TV series of 2019, provided just the right medium for us to work with.

Teams were asked to sort microbes based on their traits and features, into Harry Potter or GoT houses or relate them to a particular character from the same. Thus, with the scope for creativity this project allowed, Sorting CereMonera encouraged people to study microbial characteristics with a novel, exciting approach. Through the widespread outreach of Instagram, we have begun to slowly but steadily bridge the gap between the scientific and non-scientific communities. Also, this was a fun team-building activity for iGEM participants. It had ours in hysterics.
Sorting CereMonera

Mycobacterium tuberculosis , Iron-borne, of the House Greyjoy, sailing the Narrow Sea

Storybook translation

A brainchild of the Bilkent iGEM team (Turkey) , this was a way to educate children in a way that we enjoyed too.

The Bilkent team’s collaboration project promised to be exciting. They had created a children’s story, with which they intended to connect to kids around the world. We translated this story into one of India’s main regional languages – Bengali, in an attempt to do our part for the same goal. In addition, we helped to promote it and truly hope that it has reached a lot of curious young minds.

Bengali (Indian Language)


Another important feature of our team is its emphasis on promoting healthy discussion among peers. We truly believe that in the current state of the scientific world, where interdisciplinary research plays front and centre, the exchange of ideas between determined science enthusiasts is vital for any project. Particularly since the iGEM community is comprised solely of like-minded students of similar ages, the sharing of experiences and ideas can have a remarkable significance. To see through with this goal, our team participated in activities that would promote discussion and communication both within our team and with others.

Stony Brook Challenge

This Instagram challenge by the Stony Brook iGEM team was the most exciting and adventurous of all. It had our team members stepping out of their comfort zone, embracing their inner artists and putting up a great show. The aim of the challenge, to unite the teams and increase the iGEM teams’ online outreach was achieved successfully. Various teams from around the world participated in this 7-day Instagram challenge which included multiple amusing tasks ranging from making vines to ‘Bacterial-Culture Art’.

Our version of ‘Lab rules’ (a parody of Dua Lipa's "New Rules" by AsapSCIENCE) went viral amongst the iGEM community. Winning this challenge was a morale boost for the team and celebrations were due. We’d like to thank the Stony Brook team for thinking of this innovative idea and executing it wonderfully.

All India iGEM meet (AIiM)

This was a true representation of the learning experience that iGEM promises. Organised by IISER Bhopal on 21st of July 2019, the All India iGEM meet was the first platform where we announced our project idea to the iGEM community of India. It was attended by Nurul Izzati, the Asian ambassador of iGEM. Presenting a poster at this event helped build our confidence as it modelled the Jamboree to be held for the finale. One of the key aspects of this event was the opportunity it provided for discussion between teams. We bonded over the logistical and lab hurdles we were all too familiar with and tried to come up with solutions. The valuable feedback and input from other teams as well as the brain-storming sessions we had off the record, broadened our vision for the project. We also realised in the process, how SynShine could be a good aid to other projects and vice versa, giving us multiple ideas for collaboration.

A strict analysis and trouble-shooting by the judges led us to a greater understanding of the highlights and shortcomings of SynShine. Our team left this event with a lot more to think about. To sum up, this was an enlightening experience that truly changed SynShine for the better.

iGEMxSDGs Challenge

This collaboration was an initiative taken by iGEM teams Costa Rica , Tuebingen , and TAS Taipei , to promote the sustainable development goals (SDGs) proposed by the UN. The SDGs are the blueprint to attain a sustainable future for everyone. The aim is to achieve all of their 17 goals by 2030.

We found that we could reach closer to achieving the following 3 SDGs mainly:

  1. Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth

  2. Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure

  3. Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals