History of iGEM Bielefeld

Here you find an overview about all previous project of the iGEM teams from Bielefeld.

 
 

nanoFACTORY

IGEM2018Transperent

Copper, silver and gold - metals are essential for our daily life but resources are dwindling. Industrial mining of metals and electronic waste cause pollution of the environment. Therefore, we established new approaches to recover valuable resources through synthetic biology. By enhancing bacterial abilities to scavenge metal ions from the environment we generated nanoparticles. We optimized Escherichia coli to accumulate metal ions as copper and iron by overexpression of dedicated importers and silencing of exporters while reducing the effects of oxidative stress. To gather nanoparticles from various metal ions we engineered the iron storage protein ferritin. Recycled into nanoparticles the metals could be used for various applications as demonstrated by printing electronics. Considering Dual Use aspects we decided to extract metal ions from pit water instead of dissolving electronics directly. Therefore, in close collaboration with leading experts we developed a customized cross-flow bioreactor for the mining industry.

Project page (English) - Homepage (English)
 

Awards

  • Gold medal
  • Safety Commendation
 
 

Expand - Expanding the Genetic Code

270px hellLast years team dealed with the expansion of the genetic code. Therefore, they followed two different approaches: On the one hand, the genetic code was extended by the integration of unnatural base pairs. In this context we created a conservancy system together with an importer for the unnatural base pairs. Moreover the basis for the autonomous synthesis of these unnatural base pairs in Escherichia coli was established. The second approach to the expansion of the genetic code deals with the recoding of the amber stop codon for the assembly of non-canonic amino acids into proteins. A toolkit with five non-canonic amino acids for various applications was developed. For this approach a tRNA-aminoacyl-synthetase-library was set up. Also a tRNA-synthetase for a self-constructed completely new amino acid was generated by modeling.

Project page (English) - Homepage (German)

Awards

  • Gold medal
  • Best Foundational Advance project
  • Best Basic Part

 

 

Evobodies - Molecular Speed Dating

Logo 2016 HG weiThe 2016 team developed a system for production of binding proteins in E. coli via directed evolution. These  proteins could be used, among others, for diagnosing diseases, especially for the detection of evolving pathogens like Zika and other viruses.  Furthermore, in foundational research lots of further utilizations are possible. The team set up a library of E. coli binding protein coding plasmids as a point of origin. The team then increased the mutation rate of the wanted protein sequence with a special DNA-polymerase, hence the diversity of the proteins. By applying selection pressure bacteria that synthetized proteins with a high affinity to the target protein obtained a selective advantage and could be enriched in the culture.

Project page (English) - Homepage (German)

Awards

  • Gold medal

 

 

Cell-free Sticks - it works on paper

logo 2015 In 2015 the team developed a testing strip for detection of heavy metals and knockout drops. An easy and affordable option for detection of heavy metals is interesting for developing countries especially, whereas knockout drops depict a local problem.

A central goal was to make the biosensors available outside of the lab. Therefore, two cell-free systems were tested; a cell-free protein synthesis as well as an interaction assay, that operates with cleaned up proteins and DNA. In the end  the team was able to present a functional prototype, which was based on cell-free protein synthesis on a filter paper. Additonally, it could be shown that the testing strips could be made storable via freeze-drying. The presence of contaminations is indicated through a fluorescence signal, which could be visualized on a smartphone. Also a self-developed app allows an easy evaluation of the test.

Project page (English) - Homepage (German)

Awards

  • Gold medal
  • Best environmental project
  • Best presentation
  • Best integrated human practice
  • Best composite part

 

 

The Transformers - From Carbon Dioxide to Biofuel

logo 2014The latest climatic problems motivated the 2014' team for their project: There is no adequate infrastructure on earth to store or transport renewable energy. Furthermore, CO2 emissions are increasing worldwide and there is a threat of a crude oil shortage.
Building on these three problems, the 2014 team developed a system that uses electricity and CO2 to produce isobutanol. E. coli bacteria were used to implement this system. Existing BioBricks, such as the porins from Bielefeld 2013 or the isobutanol pathway from NCTU Formosa (2011/2012), were used for this purpose. On the other hand, the to our knowledge first functional RuBisCo could be added to the iGEM Parts Registry. Expression and correct folding of the carboxysome, a microcompartment, was also successfully achieved. In addition, an electrophilic strain was constructed and the production of isobutanol was also successful.

Project page (English) - Homepage (German)

Awards

  • Gold medal

 

 

Ecolectricity - currently available

logo 2013Based on the idea of providing an environmentally friendly alternative to energy generation, the 2013 team developed and constructed a microbial fuel cell (MFC), whose electrical energy is provided by an optimized E. coli strain. In addition to the technical optimizations of the fuel cell, various genetic approaches such as the integration of porins, the expression of cytochromes and the establishment of endogenous mediators by overexpression of glycerol dehydrogenase and the riboflavin cluster were analyzed for efficient electron transport. For the application of the microbial fuel cell outside of the laboratory, the project was rounded off by the development of a gene-based biosafety system and 3D printing of an MFC. Due to the thematic relevance of alternative energy generation using renewable resources, the team also won the Award for best presentation and took first place in the Food & Energy Project, Overgraduate category.

Project page (English) - Homepage (German)

Awards

  • Gold medal
  • Best presentation
  • Best Food and Energy Project
  • European champion
  • Vize world champion

 

 

A Case for Laccase

logo 2012In 2012, the Bielefeld iGEM team aimed to develop a system based on immobilized laccases for the degradation of oestrogens and other aromatic micro contaminants from wastewater. In order to analyse the suitability of different laccases occurring in many organisms, the corresponding genes were isolated from various prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms, cloned by targeted integration into the production organisms E. coli and Pichia pastoris and subsequently characterised with regard to their ability to degrade the components. Furthermore, the immobilization of the different laccases was analyzed and optimized to achieve the highest possible binding and activity of the immobilized oxidases. It should also be possible to use the system as a cell-free biological filter unit in sewage treatment plants.

Project page (English) - Homepage (German)

Awards

  • Gold medal
  • One of the best 16 teams

 

 

The Bisphenol A-Team

logo 2011The aim of the project was the detection of the environmental toxin bisphenol A by a cell-free, biological system. Three enzymes involved in the reduction of bisphenol A were linked to form a fusion enzyme. Bacterial surface proteins, so-called S-layers, were used to immobilize the fused enzymes in a defined structure on the surface of small glass beads. The enzymatic reaction was detected via the by-product NAD+ and an enzymatic reaction dependent on it, as a result of which a molecular beacon was converted into a light signal perceptible to the eye.

Project page (English) - Homepage (German)

Awards

  • Gold medal
  • One of the best 16 teams

 

 

MARSS (Modulated Acetosyringon Receptor Sensor System)

logo 2010The project was based on the detection of the substance capsaicin, which is responsible for the sharpness of food. The vir receptor system from Agrobacterium tumefaciens was introduced into E. coli and trained to detect the substance by directed evolution. For conceivable applications in medical diagnostics, the system can be linked to various receptors. In order to identify such receptors for medically interesting ligands, a plasmid-based screening system was developed to simplify directed evolution.

Project page (English) - Homepage (German)

Awards

  • Gold medal