Collaborations are essential for each team to develop parts of the project they could not do another way because of a lack of means or skills. This way, expertise can extend the possibilities of the team to propose a more complete project. Moreover, collaboration teaches us solidarity and teamwork which are essential qualities for every single scientist who works in a team.
iGEM Aix-Marseille (HP/Bio)
During the Parisian Meet-up organized by iGEM Pasteur at the Institute Pasteur, we met the iGEM Aix-Marseille Team that solicited our help for their human practices. iGEM Aix-Marseille is producing a modified bacteriophage that could prevent the spreading of Xylella fastidiosa, a bacterium that ruins cereals and olive crops around the Mediterranean Sea. To provide this phage to farmers, iGEM Aix-Marseille needed the authorization of the European Commission for their GMO production. That’s why they asked for the help of our lawyer, Maxime, to accompany them through possible legal pathways which were entirely different from those we used to place Psicose on the market (See the dossier on the iGEM Aix-Marseille Wiki).
For our part, we needed characterization of our Psicose producing enzyme, the D-psicose 3-epimerase, to qualify our model. iGEM Aix-Marseille has a team of skilled bio-informaticians that could take over the description of our Psicose epimerase characteristics such as catalytic activity, 3D representation, affinity constants and kinetics compared to other epimerases of our enzyme’s family (See details on our Scientific Part).
Both teams were highly satisfied with each others work and brought a great contribution to each others project.
iGEM Newcastle (Bio/Bio)
iGEM Newcastle team developed a biosensor production platform this year. Their system is aimed at characterizing biosensor-based screening systems and to generating variants in terms of reporter genes, promotors and sensitivity tuning. To test their platform, they needed to be provided a functional biosensor based screening system (See their work on the iGEM Newcastle Wiki and the result here).
We, the iGEM Evry Paris-Saclay team developed a biosensor-based screening system, so we got in touch with iGEM Newcastle and sent them our one of our biosensor, composed of PsiR transcription factor from Agrobacterium tumefaciens and a synthetic promoter we engineered, pPsiTac2 (BBa_K2448050), derived from pTacI (BBa_K864400). Sensynova has been able to generate variants with signal amplification properties, fine tuner modules as well as different colour outputs.
iGEM UPMC Paris (HP/HP)
We were contacted by the iGEM UPMC Paris team whose project was to provide developing countries with access to healthcare through their project called the BioMaker Factory. A software able to produce fragments of antibodies in Bacteria to develop therapies for multiple diseases. This time again, our lawyers were needed to dissect legal issues around the development and distribution of such a project. Diversity of our annual team helped to provide multiple service and develop every aspect of a project development from the design to its placing on the market and this was very enjoyed by other teams and in particular iGEM TU Delft that contacted our photographer to be provided pictures of the event (See details on our Education & Public Engagement page).
In return, we worked alongside iGEM UPMC Paris to the framing of practical work in a scientific course in Montrouge High School in Paris. Through our experience students could see what students in biology can actually do. We helped them to observe the relation between genotype and phenotype with Ade2- yeast strain that turns from red to white by UV exposure mutagenesis (See details on our Education & Public Engagement page). Setting the protocol and making it understandable for students was a great exercise. Scientists have to find simple ways to present complex ideas they find in their research to ease the understanding of complex phenomenon. This experience allowed us to practice simple and effective scientific mediation. Presenting iGEM was the conclusion of this meeting with students pushing them to explore and go beyond their abilities to grow and evolve. Students enthousiasm was the best reward we could expect. Even today, they ask us for questions around Biology to learn more about it.
iGEM Hamburg (Bio)
Beyond the collaboration, we also bring our help to team whom simply need it. By the end of July, iGEM Hamburg contacted us to catch up after the European Meet-up in Delft organized by iGEM TU Delft. During our discussion, they told us about some problems they encountered in molecular biology. For their project, they needed to express a gene so long they had to synthesize it in three parts. Cloning didn’t work because of the ligation between these parts. Our head of science, Jérémy, considered the problem and helped them to find other ways for ligation through Golden Gate assembly, expertise we developed after our interview with Dr. FOURNIER (See our Integrated Human Practice to learn more). He dressed an entire cloning strategy based on his brand new expertise and helped iGEM Hamburg to bring out their main part for the competition. He also provided support and continuous help for the issues they were facing to finally make it out. (See our work on their page).