UoM iGEM | Project Cutiful

In a rush? Go to our Medal Criteria page! Everything is listed there in an easy format to just read and tick. Cutiful, making your life easier since 2019 ;)

We have successfully designed and validated a holistic, complete hair care product capable of dying hair and adding fragrance.


We have been able to produce chromoproteins via the use of our engineered bacteria. We integrated a hydrophobic tag for the proteins to coat the hair cuticle. Also, we mixed colours in order to create a whole palette of colours as hair dyes.


For the first time in the iGEM history, we have achieved the production of crucial intermediates in the vanillin biosynthesis pathway from tyrosine. Additionally, we have been able to exceed the odor detection threshold after the production of limonene.


We aimed at the production of PepG, a small peptide able to repair and straighten hair, as suggested by the public. Despite not being able to fully confirm the production of this protein, we have investigated upon possible solutions for future experiments.


We have successfully designed, cloned and characterised over 15 parts. We characterised parts for bronze medal, validated new parts for silver medal, and improved a previous part for gold medal criteria.


We have achieved the improvement of sfGFP expression by changing from a T7 promoter (BBa_I746909) to pTet (BBa_K2906000). This provides higher fluorescence intensity throughout the first few hours, and tighter gene control regulation. Therefore, we have provided the iGEM registry with an essential composite part that can now be used by future teams.


We have provided extensive detailed further characterisation to three previously registered iGEM parts:BBa_J23106 , BBa_J23102, and BBa_K199118. The promoters of these parts were compared through their mRFP1 expression.


We carefully thought about the impact of our product in the general population. We contacted the public and stakeholders to share discussions on several aspects of Cutiful. Additionally, we integrated their feedback by adding more branches to our project, testing our constructs under different conditions, and modelling for further safety.


Extensive modelling was used for the design of our project, from the selection of our chromoproteins to fragrance molecules. We also modelled a kill switch based on public concerns of safety. Finally, the modelling benefitted from experimental results and was further adapted.


We have demonstrated the feasibility of our product based upon its modular nature. We have also provided evidence of how bacteria would not be affected by day-to-day activities such as shampoo washing or swimming.


We have provided used well-established, robust and reliable techniques and technologies such as: fluorescence microscopy, fluorescence spectrometry with microplate readers, spectrophotometers, ultra-performance liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) among others. Providing high quality, reproducible data throughout our project.


Safety in design, we chose a bacterial chassis that was non-pathogenic and cannot survive outside of the lab. Safety in the samples, we researched and strictly abode by The Human Tissue Act 2004 in order to assure we were following the law at all times. Safety in the lab, all of our experiments were performed under strict safety regulations.


Finally, we believe we met all of the required criteria for a gold medal: we have created a complete and robust product, comprised of modular branches to provide a flexible and customisable holistic hair care product.