Team:INSA-UPS France/Achievements

Croc’n Cholera Achievements

Giant Jamboree Results

  • Gold Medal
  • Eight nominations
    • Best Applied Design
    • Best Information Processing Project
    • Best Integrated Human Practices
    • Best Public Engagement
    • Best Basic Part
    • Best Supporting Entrepreneurship
    • Best Wiki
    • Best Presentation
  • Two prizes
    • Best Applied Design
    • Best Information Processing Project

Wet-lab summary:

We knew from the start that engineering a whole consortium was an ambitious challenge. Thus, we are especially proud of what we have accomplished during this summer (see Results).

  • E. coli was successfully modified and synthetic communication was established between it and Vibrio harveyi.
  • We managed to modify V. harveyi using triparental conjugation. To the best of our knowledge, this allowed RFP expression for the first time in this organism. This also open the way to Vibrio utilization as a new chassis for iGEM.
  • We successfully modified both E. coli to produce diacetyl, and Pichia pastoris to detect and respond to this messenger molecule
  • Last but not least, we have produced a new functional antimicrobial peptide for the iGEM registry, and this is the first biobrick from crocodile !


We are not done yet. We unlocked all the technological constraint for the project, but we needed more time to achieve the whole system, especially to implement our constructions in the V. harveyi background prior to whole system assays.

Nonetheless, we pursued our tests toward technical verifications necessary to the full device functioning, on the base of questions raised by our Model (i.e, co-cultures of the synthetic consortium members, freeze-dried of our microorganisms, permeability test…).

Given all the positive results we got, the future is now toward the development of our solution in partnership with the Sunwaterlife company.

Dry-lab summary:

Everything was not about enzymes and tubes this summer, far from it. Choosing such a complex strategy against cholera required to carefully think about where we were heading to.

Our starting point has been long discussions with NGOs, professionals and the general public. This led us to carefully think our project in both the iGEM scope and its application on the field.

In the iGEM prospect, Modeling was our best friend to design our project, ensure its feasibility, predict its strengths and limits, and orientate our experimentations.

In the application prospect, ethical matrixes were built to evaluate the social and human issues of our invention considering autonomy, fairness and welfare.

Combined to our experimental results, both prospects led to our first device prototype, whose application was analyzed through a Scope Statement and a business plan.

We were also amazed during this project by the richness of microbial biodiversity. We used resources from bacteria to crocodile, from nematode to yeasts. This we wanted to share with the public and we deeply committed in the process ( practical sessions for schools and highschools, press, and scientific exhibitions participation and organization, a conference) . But what we are the most proud of our card game MicroBioWorld, a great and innovative pedagogical tool.

The intense efforts we have accomplished in all these aspects of the project lead us to ask for the judges attention about the following price:

Medal Criteria

Bronze medal

#1: We successfully registered for the competition, had an awesome summer and proudly attended the Giant Jamboree!

#2: All the required competition deliverables were met in time for the due dates:

  • We documented our project on the maximum pages possible on our wiki.
  • We thanked all the people that helped us in our Attribution page.
  • Our poster and prezi presentation were more than ready for the Giant Jamboree.
  • We proved that we made responsible experiments thanks to our Safety Form.
  • We successfully filled out 5 Judging Forms to compete for the corresponding awards.
  • We documented 11 BioBricks on our wiki and on the Registry.
  • We followed the DNA Submission Guidelines to submit our DNA samples.

#3: We created an Attribution page entirely designed to thank all the people that helped us throughout our adventure.

#4: We successfully characterised 5 existing BioBricks:

  • BBa_J04450, an RFP coding device, in a new iGEM chassis: V. harveyi. Characterisation was made thanks to Petri dishes platings and microscopic fluorescence observations.
  • BBa_K431009,the pGAP promoter, in the chassis P. pastoris, thanks to RTq-PCR experiments.
  • BBa_K1800001, an Alpha-Factor Secretion Signal, in the chassis P. pastoris thanks to toxicity assays.
  • BBa_K1072010, an Odr-10(diacetyl) receptor in the chassis P. pastoris, thanks to fluorescence essays in a microplate reader.
  • BBa_K1072023, the pFUS1 Promoter, in the chassis P. pastoris, thanks to fluorescence essays in a microplate reader.

Silver medal

#1: Out of 19 Parts, we obtained 6 new BioBricks compatible with the Registry. We successfully validated 3 of them:

  • BBa_K2278001, V. harveyi C8-CAI-1 (quorum sensing inducer) generator, with bioluminescence essays.
  • BBa_K2278021, coding for the D-NY15 Antimicrobial peptide with an Alpha-Factor Secretion Signal. Our favorite Part was validated thanks to sequencing, RTq-PCR experiments and toxicity assays on Petri dishes.
  • BBa_K2278011, pTet driven Diacetyl generator, validated thanks to NMR analysis.

#2: We are proud of all of the collaborations we made with teams around the world:

  • For Purdue Team, we determined the Lactobacillus spp resistance at -20°C in a sucrose and milk mix.
  • Thanks to Vienna Team, we obtained the Part pGAP-RFP in P. pastoris.
  • We participated to the Postcard Project organized by Gröningen Team and in exchange received postcards from all around the world.
  • We tested the maze tool coming from NAWI-Graz Team to help them improve it.
  • Greece Team translated our survey on cholera and shared it in their country, helping us to gather more data.
  • We participated to the European Meetup organized at TU Delft and to the French Meetup organized by Pasteur_Paris Team. In each of these meetups, we obtained helpful feedbacks for our project.
  • We skyped with 5 teams around the world (Greece, Singapore, Purdue, Boston, Gröningen). Talking with teams from different backgrounds, tackling their observations on our project and trying to understand theirs was very enlightening.
  • We filled out 19 surveys on various subjects.

#3: We carried out an ethical reflexion throughout all of our project, doing bibliographical research, meeting professionals and members of NGOs. Our major discussions and decisions are listed in our Human Practices Logbook.

Gold medal

#1: We performed an Integrated Human Practice reflexion on three levels to surpass the scientific achievements and use synthetic microbial consortium to real society profit. Upstream of the project we had many contacts with NGOs (Unicef and Doctors Without Borders) and industrials working with the impacted populations. Next, we gathered invaluable knowledge about our chosen microorganisms thanks to insights from scientists all over the world. Downstream of the project, we thought about an actual solution against cholera. We carefully analyze the lifecycle of our solution through the building of 8 ethical matrices and engaged in a concrete business plan which required us to meet industrials and startup leaders.

#2: The proposed synthetic microbial consortium is complex, with many biological entities interacting in a dynamic way. Modeling was thus vital to simulate its behavior, understand its properties, and ultimately support its design. We represented the different entities and processes using a standard graphical notation, which was used as a basis to develop a predictive, mechanistic model. Following an iterative approach, this model was feed with parameters gathered from the literature and exploited to verify ab initio the feasibility of the project. In turn, it helped us to design experiments that we performed to refine some key parameters. We implemented different mathematical tools (including an original extension of the metabolic control analysis framework) to evaluate the robustness of our consortium and identify parameters that control its behavior, hence driving rational optimization of both the system and the device. A user-friendly interface was finally developed for non-specialists to play with our system.