KULeuven iGEM 2011



thanks for helping us in the lab

First of all, we would like to thank Prof. Dr. Joris Winderickx for providing us with the necessary lab space to perform all of our wet lab experiments, as well as office spaces for the whole team. Prof. Dr. Joris Winderickx is head of the laboratory of Functional Biology, which uses the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae to perform cutting edge fundamental research on nutrient-induced signal transduction. In addition, his lab developed several humanized yeast model systems, allowing the study of various molecular aspects associated with different human diseases where his current focus is on models for neurological disorders related to tau and α-synuclein.

We would like to thank Prof. Dr. Gregory Gloor, for providing us with a plasmid (pUC1813ICE) which contains the ice nucleating protein gene inaZ. Prof. Dr. Gregory Gloor currently does research at the University of Western Ontario, examining the vaginal microbiome, since the number and type of bacteria in the vagina, have a profound effect on a woman's health. An article in which he uses the pUC1813ICE with inaZ can be found here.

We also want to thank Prof. Dr. Filip Rolland. He extracted genomic DNA from the Pseudomonas syringae DC3000 strain. Unfortunately, attempts to clone the INP with this template failed, possibly due to mismatches between the template and primer sequences. In addition, successfull ligation reactions were performed using a protocol optimized in his lab. Prof. Dr. Filip Rolland is a researcher and professor at the K.U. Leuven and works on plant metabolism and the interaction with fungi. Apart from this, Filip Rolland also was the moderator in our debate. He did a great job and made sure that the debate stayed on topic!

Finally, we want to thank Prof. Dr. Johan Thevelein for the use of his ethanol bath, which we used to generate the supercooled water for our functional tests of the activities of the Ice-Nucleating Protein and AntiFreeze Protein. As head of the Molecular Cell Biology lab at the K.U.Leuven, his research focuses on the nutrient-sensing mechanisms involved in the control of the cAMP-protein kinase A pathway in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, as well as applied research and industrial valorisation on several biotechnological applications with yeast.

Thanks for your help with our workshop

Katrijn, Jeroen and Marlies, thanks for allowing us to give this workshop at the Don Bosco Speelpleinwerking! Also thank you, monitors, that helped us to get the children 'under control' during the workshop. But most of our gratitude goes to the children, who made the workshop a big success! We also want to thank ROB TV for filming everything and allowing us to use their material.

Thanks for your help with our debate

We are also greatful to Prof. Dr. Johan Robben for being a panel member at our debate. He is a professor at the K.U.Leuven and head of the research group Protein Interactions. His current research focuses on DNA polymerases and their potential of incorporating synthetically modified nucleotides. Directed evolution techniques are used for evolving natural polymerases towards new substrate specificities.

Our gratitude also goes to Prof. Dr. Johan De Tavernier for his contributions as a panel member at our debate. He is a professor at the K.U.Leuven. He has a degree in Moral Theology and since 1996, he has been the director of the Centre for Agricultural Bio- and Environmental Ethics (now the Centre for Science, Technology and Ethics). In one of his books ‘science, ethics and society’ (published in 2004) he discusses whether biotechnology is necessary to solve world hunger. Prof. De Tavernier is a member of ‘Metaforum Leuven’, an interdisciplinary think tank of the K.U.Leuven.

Our thanks should also go to Prof. Dr. Bruno André for being a panel member at our debate. He is a professor at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, and director of the laboratory of Molecular Cell Physiology (IBMM, ULB). The research of his laboratory mainly focuses on the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae which is a paradigm model system for dissecting the molecular mechanisms of basic cellular functions in eukaryotes.

We would also like to thank Prof. Dr. Jacques van Helden for his contributions as a panel member at our debate.He is a professor at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, and director of the Laboratory of Genome and Network Bioinformatics. Initially trained as agronomic engineer, his PhD thesis focused on the genetic regulation of nervous system development in Drosophila melanogaster. Since 1997, his research activities have been dedicated to the development of bioinformatics approaches to analyze genomes and networks of molecular interactions (regulation, metabolism, protein interactions).

We invited the other Belgian iGEM team from the ULBrussels to explain their project and to participate in the debate. They also asked Prof. André and Prof. van Helden to join our panel. This debate therefore became an interesting collaboration between the two teams. We wish the ULB Team the best of luck with their project and would like to thank them for the time and effort they put into the debate.

Last but not least, we would like to thank all our attendees: We asked you to register, fill in two questionnaires and be interactive during the three hours lasting debate. You gave us interesting new insights. Special thanks go to Peter, Aurore and Glenn, who wrote a small testimony. You can read their testimonials on our debate page!

Thanks for your help with our DSC measurements

We would like to thank several people of the Department of Chemistry of K.U.Leuven for their assistance with the DSC measurements. First of all, thanks to Prof. Dr. Thierry Verbiest for brainstorming with us and giving us advice. For practical assistance, we thank Prof. Dr. Guy Koeckelberghs , Prof. Dr. Eric Nies and Marcel Lasker . They provided us with a Differential Scanning Calorimeter and helped us with the measurements and analyses.

Thank you

Mimi Deprez and especially Cathy Hendrickx for taking care of the financial part of the competition. Cathy made sure that everything was paid on time for the competition. She also made sure that when Tom found new sponsors, that the practical side of the sponsorship occurred fluently. They also gave tips that helped our team a lot.

Liesbeth Van Meerbeek for keeping the BioSCENTER website up to date: She put all the sponsors and texts online. Besides that she contributed to the debate by making a registration page for us.

Johan Bollue who is the Sports League Director of Royal Belgian Ice Hockey Federation (RBIHF) and LTP instructor of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) for meeting with us. It was very informative and we learned a lot from this meeting!

Joris Engel from the ice rink in Leuven, who provided water from the ice rink, so that we could test it with the DSC.

Maarten Breckpot for the toolbox Simbiology2Latex, he created when working as a modeler for the iGEM team of 2008 K.U.Leuven. This tool is very usefull in creating pdf's with ordinary differential equations out of simbiology models. Thanks we could use it for our models too!

Jeroen Van Goey and Margaux Van Puyvelde to help us with the socialmedia page, the modeling and the labwork. Due to unforeseen circumstances they had to withdraw from the iGEM competition.