On the 14th and 22th of January 2017, we organized our own literature workshop to facilitate in depth discussions about synthetic biology projects. The entire iGEM Team Bielefeld-CeBiTec 2017 as well as additional students with a strong interest in synthetic biology attended the workshop.
Participants presented former iGEM projects realized in Bielefeld to provide information, possibilities, and features about the iGEM competition. Additionally, presentations about current research were given to enhance discussions about novel projects. By analyzing and discussing former iGEM projects we gained great insight in the structure and the requirements of iGEM.
“The Transformers – from Carbon Dioxide to Biofuel” from the iGEM Team Bielefeld-CeBiTec 2014 and “MARSS - Modulated Acetosyringon Receptor Sensor System” from the iGEM Team Bielefeld-CeBiTec 2010 have been presented among other projects. The projects demonstrated that neither the fixation of carbon dioxide, producing the biofuel isobutanol from carbon dioxide nor a sensor for capsaicin have an innovative character anymore, which is a crucial criterion for any successful iGEM project.
Already at the beginning of our project phase, we kept the giant jamboree and our final presentation in mind. Each team member prepared two presentations in english and held them in front of a big audience, thereby improving presentation and communication skills.
Several scientific discussions had a great impact on our project. The presentation about the minimal genome promoted the work on our biosafety report. One talk described the application of a FRET system to investigate quorum sensing. This inspired us to utilize FRET for one application in our project.
During the entire weekend, there was one topic that always recurred: CRISPR/Cas9. Due to the very broad range of applications, we identified its huge benefit for our own project. CRISPR/Cas9 is critical for our retention system, to ensure that the unnatural bases are preserved in the genome.
Since this literature workshop contributed significantly to the development of our project, we recommend it to other teams. Looking at previous projects is very helpful to identify a novel topic for the next iGEM competition. We already planned a second Literature Workshop with the upcoming iGEM team Bielefeld-CeBiTec 2018. This will provide an exchange of experience, enabling great start for the new team.
Figure 1: Some impressions of our literature workshop.