Like many iGEM teams, we focused on collaboration and communication with other teams since it’s of great importance to share ideas with others to improve our projects and only when unite can we convey the spirits of iGEM better.
On July 20th and 21st, BM-AMUiGEM team invited UCAS-China and other 5 undergraduate teams to attend a meet-up in Chongqing, including NUDT_CHINA, SMMU-China, OUC-China, SDU-CHINA, CSU-CHINA. During this meetup, seven teams gave presentations of their projects, shared ideas and got precious advice from other teams and instructors.
Our ideas were still vague at that time. Our exploration of microbial therapy were still ongoing. To expand the range of our reasearch, we invited iGEMers attending this meet-up to help us enrich our questionnaire which lit a light on the way we go. It was the first time for UCAS-China team to attend a meet-up in 2019. From then on, we began to know about other teams seeking for suggestions from them not only about our project, but also about our presentation. And we hoped to know more from others.
Thanks for invitation from BM-AMU and all dear iGEMers who participated enthusiastically.
Meet-up invited by BIT-China
After the Chongqing Meetup, on Aug 6th, BIT-ChinaiGEM team invited UCAS-China and other 6 undergraduate teams to attend a meet-up, including Peking, Tinghua-A, Tsinghua, OUC-China, CAU-China and BNU-China. During this meetup, eight teams gave presentations of their projects, shared ideas, put forward suggestions and had a great time.
It was obviously that we had all progressed and done more work. We were happy to make our project more complete to present. Different from Chongqing Meetup, we communicated more about the design and experiment itself not the idea. Through their presentation, we found the opportunity to have collaboration with them and discussed the possibilities preliminarily. Also, from their projects, we saw more potential in our switch when hearing some teams' applications such as the regulation of molecular synthesis and fermentation. We believed in the future, our switch can not only be applied to microbial therapy, but it can serve as a temperature indicator or for other use.
We were inspired greatly by the fantastic ideas from other iGEM teams and also found some problems of our project from their suggestions such as the safety problem of our switch.
Thanks for invitation from BIT-Chinaand all dear iGEMers who participated enthusiastically.
Conference of China iGEMer Community(CCiC)
At the end of summer vacation, from Aug 18th to 23rd, UCAS-China team came to Shenzhen, excitedly bracing the opportunity to communicate and have fun with more than 70 teams from all over China. This was the first time for UCAS-China team to join the Conference of China iGEMer Community. We were happy to learn from other iGEMers and synthetic biology lovers.
In the conference, we gave presentation of our own project and sought advice from judges and iGEMers, listened to iGEM lovers' stories and experience, listened to other iGEM teams' projects, watched their beautiful and creative posters and enjoyed the cozy tea breaks.
When listening to their presentation, we found that a large number of teams had done projects about microbial therapy, which gave us more confidence to apply our universal and robust switch into microbial therapy. Therefore, we built good friendship with some teams and began further communications online. Our friendship and collaboration continued to keep groups of iGEMers closer. We appreciated the opportunity, looking forward to meet all of them again in Boston!
Thanks to this conference, we participated in the "Clone It" InterLab study, which was organised by CCiC and Genescript, to test the Gibson assembly/In-fusion HD assembly kit and provide feedback.
Collabration with SZPT-CHINA
When we went to CCiC, besides the presentations, we had a further communication with SZPT-China team. Hearing that we wanted to prove the universality of our switch, they willingly offered their help and suggestions that they can test our part in their lactic acid bacteria system.
Therefore, we sent them our cold-inducible genetic switch plasmids, including TEVts and TF-GFP, hoping they can help us test whether our switch can function in lactobacillus as well to see if our platform was universal. Unfortunately, the result was discouraging. But they gave us some reasons and possible improvement about our system such as codon preference, which were really inspiring. We believed with their help we can optimize our system and put it into broader application. In addition, with their help to remeasure the escape frequencies, we can ensure again that our switch can build up an efficient safe platform for microbial therapies.
Meanwhile, we learned that they had problems in modelling. After CCiC, we organized a deep communication about modelling, like how to choose key parameters. Also, we were invited to help completing their mini program and give some advice which may be of some use to improve it.
Collaboration with Fudan
Interested in microbial therapy, we paid more of our attention to it during CCiC. Then we found that Fudan developed a kind of microbial therapy to solve lactose intolerance but they also realized that safety was an important issue they must care about. After introducing our switch to them, they showed great interest in our switch. Therefore, we offered our cold-inducible swithc with the toxin doc system which can perform the complete function of biocontainment to them so that they can not worry about safety of their engineered bacteria anymore. Luckily, we had characterize the system in Nissle 1917, which was right the chassis of their therapy. We were glad that we got another set of data characterization of our system while their problem was solved.
Collaboration with ShanghaiTech_China
After listening to the presentation, we found that ShanghaiTech_China also prepared to use thermo-sensitive switch with lytic gene ΦX174E for the purpose of biocontainment. But lack of cold-inducble switch bothered them a lot. Therefore, we provided our cold-inducible switch for them to fill the suicide procedure for their microbial therapy project. They substituted sfGFP of our plasmid with their lytic gene ΦX174E to achieve the function. We also shared our protocols about quantitative characterization of escape rate in sold LB plate with them. Hence, we got a series of precious data to better evaluate and compare the efficiency of different biocontainment strategies. SEE MORE in http://parts.igem.org/Part:BBa_K2152004
In communication, we discussed the function of their lytic gene and founf that it can be used not only for bacteria suicide, but also for drug release which was right the point of the application of our switch in microbial therapy. We appreciated their help in providing us with lytic gene ΦX174E. Combined with our heat-inducible on-switch TCI42, lytic protein plays an important role in our design of precise drug release
Collaboration with BEAS_China
Also, we had a collaboration with BEAS_China team. BEAS_China team intended to build an amplifier for the concentration of Hg. Our design of cold-inducible switches gave them a good idea to use TEV-CI434 pair as the amplifier. They designed a stategy similar to our switch basically, but the expression of TEV protease is regulated by Hg ions. The results showed that their design worked effectively.
Collaboration with BM-AMU
BM-AMU is a new team and this was their first time to come into contact with synthetic biology and iGEM. We helped them with some basic concept frequently used in iGEM such as the standard of the Bronze medal using our experience and understanding of iGEM to let them get started quickly.
In the meantime, we were still gathering suggestions from all walks of life. Specially the opinions from the hospitals and doctors are one of the most important parts on the way of microbial therapy's development. Exactly they are professionals in medical treatment and have many consultation channels to the hospital and doctors, so they help us with the aspect of expertise opinion about the use of microbial therapy to treat metabolic diseases in return. It was exciting that we had one more partner to move forward together!
Collaboration with Peking
After the meetings, we had learnt that Peking focused on how to develop a safety control system in microbial therapy which is also our focus. To seek more possibilities and chances to complete both our projects, we provided them with our thermo-sensitive switch to help them improve and enrich their project. Also, we had a close discussion about human practice for microbial therapy. To find more potential and applications, also to find out the obstacles standing in the way of microbial therapy's deveopment, we got together and researched the companies concentrating on similar medicines and ethic hoping to get some part of the answer.
Collaboration with SDU_CHINA
This year, SDU_CHINA team's project is about developing a light-controlled bacterial co-culture system. We provided them with our light-controlled sensor and the bacteria we developed last year. We had a discussion at Chongqing meetup about our projects and posters. The advice they provide to improve our project was of great value.
Collaboration with BHSF_ND
After meetings and communications, we found that our project had some common in BHSF_ND's. We both wanted to use the core concept of bistable state to achieve the result of bacteria suicide. To further improve our projects, we had some in-depth discussion and put forward possible plans of collaboration. We also mentor them about how to carry out project better and build up Wiki.
Collaboration with BNU-China
During the meeting organized by BIT-China, we learned that this year, BNU-China focused on developing a dual-mechanism fit-keeping intestinal microbe. After listening to our presentation, they were interested in our chassis Nissle 1917 which served as a suitble chassis for applying microbial therapy in guts. After that we had lots of discussion about the strategy of biocontainment. To make the system more efficiant, we gave them Nissle 1917 strain and shared protocols with them. What's more, as for the microbial therapy in guts, we helped each other in researching. It came out that the advice we gave to each other was of great value to push forward our projects.
Collaboration with CAU_China
After hearing the project of their team, we found that CAU_China put forward a new idea for the utilization of straw. In their project, they used fermentation as the main strategy. But they also worried about the biocontainment of their engineered bacteria. Because we had thermo-sensitive switches and suicide strategy which can directly solve this concern, we reached our to them and had a good talk about it. What's more, when the fermentation was achieved, the tamperature will rise, too which inspired us to use our thermo-sensitive switch into fermentation. In addition, they introduced us to BJSZ and we introduced them to OUC-China. This facilitated our collabration with other teams.
Collaboration with BSC_United
This year, BSC_United focused on developing a system to regulate blood glucose intelligently. We had some discussions about our projects and put forward many meaningful advice to each other. We suggested that they can use our temperature-control switch which was of some help to their project. In addition, we compared the results of our questionnaires to get a better understanding of the public attitude towards using bacteria and applying electronic components for therapy and diagnosis.
Collaboration with Nanjing_NFLS and XJTLU-CHINA
We set up a bioethics discussion group with XJTLU-CHINA and Nanjing_NFLS in the Conference of China iGEMer Community. After extensive communication, all of us believed in the significance of bioethics issues. Therefore, we decided that each team sought out local hospital ethics committees or bioethics professors and acquired their opinions on bioethics and applications of synthetic biology in therapeutics. With rich results from 3 teams, we could better think about the future plan and notice potential ethical problems. We also hope this can be a good attempt to set other teams thinking about the role of ethics in their projects .
Collaboration with RDFZ-China
We provided RDFZ-China team with three parts— BBa_K2598058, BBa_K2598059, BBa_K2598060—which respectively are coding sequence for rain, mint, lemon odorants. The three parts played an important role in their project for this year.
Collaboration with CPU-CHINA
CPU_CHINA focused on developing a better therapy for tuberculosis. We provide them with a strain of mycobacterium smegmatis to help they carry our their project. We gave each other some advice on projects as well.