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Hello World!

Hello World: Meet the rookies!

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We are saying hello to a good deal of new European contenders this year, and many of them have big ambitions for their first projects. Let’s take a brief look at all of them.


Say hello to the rookie teams!


This year Amsterdam are hosting the regional conference, so it’s good to se them represented as a new team as well. They are working on making E. Coli that will grow at temperatures far below normal limits. They also aimed to make coli better at resisting frost. Apparently they have had some success in making the cold resistance work. If you want to read more check our post!



This team is working on using microalgae for biodegradation. Now this use of microorganisms has been a returning theme for many years, but algae are still somewhat new on the iGEM scene. Bilkent_UNAM are specifically working on degrading TNT. Apparently they didn’t get to test their constructs against



It’s good to see a new Danish team in the competition. Copenhagen are working with cytochrome P450 hydroxylases to rid the world of evil. They want to use E. coli expressing two different CYP’s to bring death to fungi and environmental estrogens. They seem to have had a bumpy ride making their assemblies, but they have good results on with the fungus killer.



DTU has been with us for 3 years now, but they are growing and have split into two teams. DTU-2 is an all-girl team, who have apparently had a lot of success developing a new assembly standard. Now this has been done many times before, so what makes theirs special? It’s based on the USER enzyme, that let you assemble multiple pieces in a few hours with no need of restriction digest or ligation. Sounds pretty cool. They have been working in fungus and mammalian cells for proof-of-concept with very nice results.



Dundee are working on compartmentalization in E. coli. We’ve already blogged about the project so check it out! As for results they seem to be saving them for the regional.



This year Strasburg is represented by a software team for the first time. They are only two students, so a small team, even for the software track. They have been working on software for modeling synthetic constructs behavior, and it’s supposed to be biologist friendly (although their background section isn’t entirely biologist friendly).



This year we are seeing a lot of Turkish teams, and Fatih is a new player. They are primarily composed of medical students, but also have a cartoonist on the team. Very Cool. They are working to prevent hospital infections by using bacteria to combat each other. They have some results indicating the two bacterial strains are killing each other off, but it seems a bit sketchy; Still impressive for first time competitors though.



These newcomers are making a heavy metal detector that relates a mercury concentration to an IPTG gradient on a test slip. Instead of the usual approach of having a threshold, they are trying to make a more precise indicator of concentration on a proposed “slip”. They have some characterization done, but no demonstration of the final device available.



Another Turkish team, they are creating software to help iGEM teams and synthetic biologists to search the registry more effectively, and design constructs. It’s a noble effort, and as we all know the registry could use some user-accessibility.



This is the first Norwegian team ever in iGEM so welcome Norway! They have built a stress sensor that outputs mCherry when coli are under stress, and it seems to work.


Potsdam Bioware

These guys have one of the more technical descriptions I’ve read (or maybe it’s just getting late). What I can gather is that they are working with a class of molecules called microviridins, that can be used to block protease activity. Specific viridins would be useful as drugs, targeting specific proteases. I honestly can’t tell if it worked.



Sevilla are making a standard for multicellular Boolean systems. They seem to be making a system that resembles the Peking S team we featured earlier, but the components are probably different.



These guys confirm all suspicions that biologists are only interested in algae and moss. They are working to bring these two organisms into iGEM by creating a library of elementary components for others to use later.



This is a pretty ambitious project to introduce communication between higher eukaryotes and prokaryotes using quorum sensing. They are trying to create a symbiotic system of the two. They haven’t got final results for all parts, but for a new team it’s a very impressive contribution all-round. Props for a cool wiki too.



Our final European rookie team is Wageningen UR who are making a quorum sensing based oscillator. They’ve also attempted to engineer an artificial intercellular communication system in the fungus Aspergillus Nidulans. They have also designed a special flow chamber that can be used to study these kinds of QS systems. Good results by the way.


Welcome to all the new teams, we hope to see you for many years to come!

Liveblogging at the European Regionals

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If you follow our twitter you probably know this already, but here it goes again:

iGEMwatch is going to the regional jamboree in Amsterdam!

Me (LC) and Marc will provide live coverage from the European regionals the whole upcoming weekend (September 30th – October 2nd), starting with the “Meeting of the Minds” organized by the Rathenau Institute on friday night, followed by presentations on saturday, where we will post live from two parallel sessions. Naturally, we will also be tweeting from the poster session on saturday evening to let you know about the most creative and inspiring posters there. We will conclude the coverage on sunday with the presentations of the three finalists and the awards ceremony, so tune in to find out who the favorites for taking the grand prize in Boston are!

All of this is possible thanks to iGEM HQ and the regional jamboree organizers who have granted us the status of “blogging volunteers”; thank you!

If you also are attending the jamboree then come and say hi to the guy sitting at the presentations continually typing away on his computer – it would be really nice to meet our readers in person!

Be ready for a flood of updates and lots of tweets over the weekend.