iGEM Leiden | 2019


Suckerin Polymer Layer to Achieve Sustainable Health

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One of the great benefits of participating in the iGEM competition is meeting and working together with enthusiastic young scientists from other teams around the world. We embraced this opportunity by finding projects with similar problems and goals as ours, as well as attending and organizing general meetups for our colleagues. Being helped greatly in our own project on these collaborations, it means a lot to us to contribute to a feeling of community within our domain of science. Below, you can find a short overview of all our collaborations and attended meetups.

Collaborations with other teams

Dutch Meetup

Together with the Groningen iGEM team, we organized a weekend for all iGEM teams in The Netherlands to come together in Leiden. We enjoyed two great lectures by experts Ariane Briegel and Sonja Billerbeck about electron microscopy and finding success in iGEM, respectively. In the spirit of good practice for the Jamboree, the participating teams presented their projects in front of a professional jury including iGEM ambassador Niek Savelkoul. Besides all seriousness, we got to know each other better by mixing up the teams during a game of Crazy 88 in the city center of Leiden. We would like to thank everyone who joined our meetup, as it added much to the experience of our scientific field as a close-knit community.

UC Davis: Opentrons Robot

The Opentrons Open-source pipetting robot is a great way of speeding up pipetting work, while also working towards more reliable and standardized results. We are very grateful to have won one of these robots in a competition among iGEM teams hosted by Opentrons. To make the most of this gift, we participated in a multi-lab accuracy study involving the OT-2 robot, organized by the UC Davis iGEM team: In their words: “We are proposing that each lab with an OT-2 robot participate in a simple pipetting protocol generated by the UC Davis iGEM team to assess the variability of manual pipetting compared to using a pipetting robot.” We hope this survey can serve as feedback for Opentrons, in their efforts to further automatize laboratories.

A survey on GMOs in medical biotechnology

Together with the iGEM teams from Oxford and Copenhagen, we created a survey on the use of GMOs in medical biotechnology. With this survey, we could analyze whether the general public is skeptical of GMOs for various medical purposes. These results were further implemented in our public outreach and human practices program. You can find a report on the survey results here. As one participant noted: “People can be very fearful about new technology and myths are spread. Educating people will benefit society by reducing people’s reservations about GMOs so they can get the most effective treatment possible.” We included the feedback and concerns that participants raised into our public engagement activities.

The Golden Gate webinar by iGEM Marburg

The Marburg iGEM team invited us to participate in a webinar about Golden Gate Assembly. This method uses the ability of Type IIS restriction endonucleases to cut DNA outside of its recognition sequence for scarless cloning. This provides lots of possibilities for modular cloning, giving you more freedom and control about the constructs you want to build. The webinar included core concepts of Golden Gate Assembly as well as how to use specific software for the design and implementation. Unfortunately, we could not apply any of the knowledge directly to our project since we had beforehand planned to create our constructs using traditional restriction cloning.

Horseradish peroxidase by the iGEM Dresden team

For the production of our suckerin hydrogel, we had to make use of horseradish peroxidase, catalyzing the oxidation of our substrate by hydrogen peroxide. The Dresden iGEM team was so kind as to send us their plasmid containing horseradish peroxidase. In return, we sent them a script on how to send genetic material and strains to other iGEM teams. This was implemented by them in their video series with tutorials to iGEM issues. (Figure right by Manuel Almagro Rivas)

Düsseldorf postcards

The team of the University of Düsseldorf had the lovely idea of organizing a postcard challenge. This collaboration provided the opportunity to send and receive postcards from various teams around the world and we eagerly participated. Since the various research subjects and disciplines were described on the postcards, we learned a lot about other teams.

King's College London iGEM collaboration survey for biosecurity standards

The King's College London iGEM team wanted to emphasize on biosecurity standards in various countries. We fully support their research, so we filled in their survey.


Bonn Spring Festival

Our team joined the European Meetup in Bonn. The weekend was a great success, having learned a lot about various subjects within iGEM, such as entrepreneurship. Since we were in the early stages of our research, we could already acquire various new skills for our project. For instance, we met with experts Martin Sieber and Eugen Kaprov, who were of great help in our human practices and entrepreneurship. We would like to especially thank the Bonn team for organizing this nice meetup!

InParis European Meetup

In the impressive capital of France, members from our team joined the InParis European Meetup. During the meetup, we presented our research for a professional jury. Their feedback was instrumental in our preparation for presenting at later conferences, including the Giant Jamboree. It was also very inspiring to see so many other enthusiastic teams. We would like to thank the Pasteur Paris, Ionis Paris, GO Paris Saclay and Evry Paris Saclay iGEM teams for organizing this exceptional meetup!

European meetup for teams and supervisors

The RIVM, an independent research agency of the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, organized the European meetup for teams and supervisors in the Rathenau Instituut in the Hague. Since we wanted to improve our project further with respect to safety-by-design, this meetup provided a great opportunity to talk to many professionals in the field. Thank you RIVM for arranging this interesting meetup!

Eindhoven Benelux meetup

The Eindhoven iGEM team organized the Benelux Mini Jamboree. During this meetup, we presented our project as we would at the Giant Jamboree. In this setting, we were able to practice our presentation and poster session in front of a live audience, as well as judges who are familiar with the iGEM judging rules. The feedback we received was implemented as finishing touch for the Giant Jamboree. Thank you, team Eindhoven for organizing this meetup!