Markus Linder, PI

Markus is our principal investigator, and was actively involved in our ideation process for approximately two months and he provided us feedback and suggestions periodically. He arranged some of our initial funding and helped us find experts who would be able to help us in some of the laboratory experiments. Markus guided us throughout our entire project and helped us with practical issues. He shared his insights regarding interpretation of our results, wiki and Boston presentation. We are grateful for his continuous support; he has guided the Aalto-Helsinki team from the beginning, in 2014!

Merja Penttilä

Merja, a university lecturer from VTT, attended our initial brainstorming session and provided her insights regarding the direction of our project. She was also present in one of the Bio-community meetings.

Advisors Heli Viskari and Sesilja Aranko

Heli was actively involved in our brainstorming and idea development processes with our other advisors, giving us feedback on the idea and providing us with aspects that we should take into consideration. She also instructed us where to find all the equipment and reagents we needed in the student laboratory, and she helped us with ordering reagents that we needed for our project specifically. Additionally, Heli advised us with whom to contact when we needed to find some experimental materials (e.g. bacterial strains) or special equipment outside the student laboratory. Sesilja helped us significantly with our experimental design and laboratory work. She provided us with some of the important experimental materials we needed for our project, and helped us to design our own DNA fragments and primers etc. Sesilja also advised us on using the equipment we were not familiar with beforehand. She was always there for us if we had problems with our experiments and she supported us in troubleshooting the experiments and analyzing our results.


I was selected as a team leader and therefore interviewed the most potential applicants and influenced the selection of our this year’s team members. As a team leader, I made sure that our team is always on schedule and everybody in the team knows what their responsibilities are and how to proceed with them. I have lead the discussions in our team meetings, helped other team members in solving problems, answered countless emails and created to-do-lists. I actively participated in ideation and first-stage background research and later focused mostly on collaborations, fundraising, human practises, applications, visits, travelling and wiki. To the wiki, I wrote on the pages Silver, Integrated Human Practices, Entrepreneurship, Dialog, Ethics, Safety, Education, Collaborations. I also helped in laboratory work, especially during the Fall.

Oh well, it's going to be alright.

The main responsibilities were updating our team website, and developing our wiki page with Matilda, who was responsible for the UI design. I implemented the wanted functions and look with html, css and jquery. Together with Matilda, we also planned the wiki structure and figured out how iGEM works, how the judging system works and which pages are required. In addition to the web work, I actively participated in ideation, planning, visits and interviews, fundraising and application discussions. I was the secretary of our association, completed the Interlab study together with Maisa, and when I could, helped out in the laboratory. I taught some basic html and css skills to our team members as well as to the Estonian team who visited us. We organized a modelling workshop/presentation to the Finnish International Biology Olympiad team with Maisa. To the wiki, I wrote on the pages Ethics, Safety, Interlab, Dialog and Education.

Oh no I broke the wiki again!

My main responsibility was to investigate possible applications of the antimicrobial peptide, as well as to create and test product concepts of using it with cellulose materials. In the early project stage, I was involved in creating the budget and fundraising. Later, I also became a "LB agar plate master", i.e., providing company for our lab people and supporting them by doing small tasks. Most of the application-related background research, such as market research and research for each possible application area (wound care, acne, implants, 3D-printing etc.) was done by me. We ideated the product packaging with Matilda, after which I designed a 3D-model of it and organized its manufacture. I was involved with hydrogel formulation and testing, such as viscosity and contamination tests. Together with Matilda, we drew conclusions of our testing and further developed the product. I contacted and visited the Urlinski cosmetics production line manufacturer in Poland in order to learn more about the large-scale production of cosmetics. I was responsible for analyzing the results of the survey with Jenny. To the wiki, I wrote about patents, viscosity and contamination tests as well as market research.

One more question.

I was one of our main lab persons. Thus, I did a lot of background research on our topic, and designed and planned our experiments together with Usha and Meryem. Together with Meryem, we designed our constructs. I taught Jenny how to use Geneious so she could design primers for our BioBricks. Since I was more experienced with genetics I could offer my expertise when it was needed in the lab. I spent most of my time in the lab performing experiments, but I also took part in some of our human practice activities and visits, as well as collaborations related to the lab work. I was one of the presenters in the Nordic iGEM Conference and have contributed a lot to the text in our first poster. I also communicated the lab results to the rest of the team.

Science first! Then comes other things.

During our project I was mainly taking care of application design and branding our project. I shared visual design responsibilities with Jenny and created designs for banners, flyers, photos and final poster. Wiki layout is also designed by me and together with Meo we created the structure. I have taken all the background photos for wiki. I took care and scheduled meetings with experts and interviewed people, contacted media and built up human outreach activities. For example, I had a huge role in organizing, designing and preparing the Heureka Science Center activities. I’ve written many articles about our project to different publishing outlets. I also learned lots of new skills for example writing html. Because of my background in design I was also taking care that our project is clear and understandable for people outside scientific fields. To the wiki I wrote the pages Story, The Concept, Applied Design and hugely contributed to Integrated Human Practices and Silver pages. A lot of the wiki illustrations, especially on the Human Practices were done by me. I took care of most of the steps in product development and material decisions regarding the consistency and components of the gel. The package design for the final product and our team sweaters and t-shirts were designed by me.

Why I'm writing this much to the wiki I'm the only on with dylexia?

I have been working simultaneously between art and science, sharing graphic design tasks with Matilda and assisting the core lab team in the laboratory. I made the first poster for the European iGEM Meetup and took the individual photos of our team members. I made various GIFs and videos for our project which I scripted and narrated. I went through literature to learn more about acne and interviewed patients as well as specialists. I was responsible for replying to the comments and messages we received through our Facebook page and when our team leader was away I lead the Skype meetings from our part. I designed primers for our BioBricks, though we didn’t need them in the end. I held a workshop and taught other team members how to use Adobe Illustrator. For the wiki I made most of the illustrations explaining the laboratory work. I wrote about acne in general and its effects on mental health to the wiki. I also wrote about the lacking transparency in cosmetic markets to the ethics part of the wiki and contributed to other pages as well, such as Attributions and Dialog. I took part in fundraising and as the team’s treasurer I took care of invoices and our bank account. I worked on the survey result analysis with Michal. A big portion of the pictures and updates on our social media accounts were posted by me and I also managed our blog in the beginning. I also designed the Giant Jamboree presentation slides and was one of the presenters in Giant Jamboree.


In the beginning of our project I had a huge impact on the brainstorming sessions since I was very interested in biosensors and happened to come across dermcidin. I was one of the responsible people for lab work and experimental design along with Meryem and Oona. Since I was more experienced in antimicrobial testing I played a primary role when we planned our experiments. I spent most of my days in the lab working and also documenting our results and parts in wiki. The process also involved literature research and brainstorming for application ideas. Together with Meryem I documented the parts that we sent to the iGEM registry. Apart from lab, I was involved in designing our business model and took part in pitching, fundraising, planning entrepreneurial activities and documenting entrepreneurship page in wiki. Since I have a lot of experience in pitching, I had a huge role in composing the pitch for the BioFinland Pitching Competition and I gave presenting tips to others. Further I contributed towards integrated human practices, visiting hospitals and industry experts along with my team and writing blog posts. I was also one of the presenters at the Giant Jamboree.

We are manipulating life. It's so exciting!

During our project I was mainly involved in lab, I spent long days in lab designing and performing experiments together with Usha and Oona. Since I had more experience with enzymes, protein expression, gels and purification methods I was in a big role in designing the lab experiments. Together with Oona we designed our constructs. I also contributed to our brainstorming sessions and did background research of dermcidin. Together with my lab mates, Oona and Usha, I documented our lab results for wiki and parts for registry. Also, for wiki efforts I made a literature research and wrote a brief review to the Theoretical Background. Apart, from being a lab rat, I took part in pitching, fundraising and human practices visits. I was also presenting our project in the Giant Jamboree.

We did it! Yey!

I am a person most comfortable when working with numbers both large and small. Computational chemistry combines the small scale atomic phenomena with the large chucks of data that are often produced. Mostly due to my background, I was the person responsible for the modeling aspects of our project and acquired access to CSC's supercomputers among other things. I presented in various presentations and taught mathematical modeling to the International Biology Olympiad team. I also participated actively in the ideation part of our project as well as went through a lot of literature regarding the fundamental building blocks of our idea, namely dermcidin, cellulose-based materials and hydrogels. I was also responsible for InterLab with Meo. More on the lab side of things, I did cellulose binding tests with nanocellulose (CNF), viscocity and preservative testing of our hydrogel along with Michał and sterilized peach pits for the final product. As part of the project, I also did a lot of background research on implants, coatings, immobilization of peptides and preservatives. I chose the preservative for our products prototype. For the wiki, I wrote the modeling pages and edited and proofread some other pages from both lab and human practices.

When I'm talking about science, which I love, it is always so easy.

People who have helped us

Pezhman Mohammadi

He carried out MALDI-TOF/TOF mass spectrometry with us. He helped with sample preparation and assisted throughout the procedure. He also provided us the protocols needed.

Andreas Lindberg

Doctoral candidate, Aalto University, School of Chemical Engineering. Helped us a lot with application design and cellulose materials. He gave us CMC material for sample making and helped us with a several questions we faced during the project. He also connected us with peoples who had the knowledge of viscosity testing.

Andrew Lindford

Doctor at Jorvi Burn Unit. A specialised doctor Andrew Lindford showed us around at the Burn Unit in Jorvi Hospital.

Bart Rooijakkers

Bart is a researcher at Aalto University, and especially studies recombinant expression of cellulose binding modules (CBMs), and so he helped us discuss our cellulose binding studies and gave us a good, simple protocol for executing them.

Meri Lundahl

Doctoral candidate, Aalto University, School of Chemical Engineering. Meri helped us to execute viscosity testing with our cellulose.

Pepita Hänninen

Pepita is a psychotherapist, who has more than 20 years of experience from helping young people, who struggle with their mental health. We had an excellent discussion with her about the psychological side of acne and how for example parents and medical professionals should talk about it. You can read more from here.

Antti Lauerma

We interviewed dermatologist Antti Lauerma from Helsinki skin disease clinic in order to gain more insight on acne as a disease and whether our application sounds like it could work.

Ida-Maria Rantala

We met cosmetologist Ida-Maria Rantala from Ihohoitola Lupaus beauty clinic. She was specialized in acne and told us about her patients, treatments and products they use in a beauty clinic and what they recommend patients to use at home. We got a lot of input about consumer behaviour for example what kind of products they are most often willing to use and how much they are willing to but money for acne treatments.

Ulla Väänänen and Kirsi Isoherranen

Ulla Väänänen is a nurse and Kirsi Isoherranen is a doctor at Helsinki Skin disease clinic. Both greatly helped us in application design process by showing us various wound care products where dermcidin could be added. They also gave us a lot of different samples of wound care products so we could observe them while designing our product.

Per Saris

Per is a professor in Food Microbiology from Department of Applied Chemistry and Microbiology, University of Helsinki. He has been working with antimicrobial peptides since 1990 from different origin like bacteria, frog, bovine and man. He played a crucial role in providing us with valuable inputs about antimicrobial peptides in general and carrying out antimicrobial peptide assays. He also gave us nisin to use as a control in our antimicrobial assay.

Sauli Larkiala

Sauli is a machine shop assistant at Aalto University. He machined the wooden packages for us.

Andrzej Urlinski

He is the CEO of the Urlinski company. We had phone interview and visited the factory to learn about scaling-up of cosmetics production.

Jutta Kujasalo and Siina Vasama

Jutta and Siina helped us to take part in the World Biotech Tour in Heureka Science Center. We had couple of meetings with them where we planned the activities we would like to host for the festival visitors and they helped us with the preparations.

Carmela Kantor-Aaltonen

Carmela was in a huge role in organizing the Biotech Week in Finland which our team also participated by making a video about synthetic biology and participating in the BioFinland Pitching Competition

Sami Elamo and Katja Ivanitskiy

We discussed with Sami and Katja from Biodesign Finland about our product application ideas and they told us about provisional patent applications.

Valtteri Sandberg

A Finnish social media person Valtteri Sandberg is publicly speaking about his acne treatments and was willing to be interviewed for our blog. We were especially discussing about the negative impact acne has on a person’s mental health.

Mari Teesalu

Mari from Ville Hietakangas’ group, Institute of Biotechnology, gave us competent cells of K-12 DH5&alpha for InterLab.

Suresh Chander

Suresh is a PhD student in University of Helsinki and is a product developer by profession. Having experience in process design and scale up, he helped us with large scale production plan and provided guidance on cost calculation and large scale process design for PORIFI.

Aalto-Helsinki Alumni

We were fortunate to have the support of the three previous year's Aalto-Helsinki team's alumni. We could always contact them when in doubt about iGEM practices. Especially the Aalto-Helsinki iGEM 2016 team members did a huge job in first recruiting us and then instructing us in how iGEM works, how we should proceed in the ideation and so forth. They also handed over our association: Aalto-Helsinki Synthetic Biology ry. Warms thanks to all the alumni!

Pihla Savola

Pihla is an Aalto-Helsinki team alumnus and a research assistant in the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems. She helped us many times with practical questions and doubts in the laboratory.

Oskari Vinko

Oskari offered his help when we were planning our presentation in Turku, where we promoted iGEM and encouraged them to start their own team! He also gave us useful tips regarding presenting at the Giant Jamboree.

Snehadri Sinha

Snehadri provided us information on how their team dealt with several different small practical problems in their iGEM journey, which helped us to solve similar situations.

Laura Laiho

Laura instructed us on association matters and gave us her contacts so that we could spread the word about our presentation in Turku to the target audience.

Jami Valorinta

Jami had improved the WikiFire+ tool, which is meant for fast uploading of web files on the iGEM servers, and so he instructed us in how we should develop the wiki and upload it.

Website Development

In our wiki, we make use of the free-to-use social icons vector pack by Pixeden. Their license states that “All our resources* are royalty free for use in both personal and commercial projects.”

When making the dropdown menu, this menu was used as a starting point. CSS Menu Maker’s code is free to use in private project as well as in commercial projects.