iGEM Aachen - Collaborations


Our team-ups with the other groups for science and fun

Strengthening the iGEM community is one of our values. We want to energize everyone to grow with and to learn from one another. We think that intercultural exchange helps us to improve ourselves and to be a part of an inclusive culture. Therefore, we cooperated with iGEM teams from every corner of the world. As students, it is vital for us to take part in building bridges between teams and people across the globe, while also energizing others to do the same.

Our collaborations with other iGEM teams:

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German collaborations

German iGEM Online Meetup

Initiated by iGEM Marburg

Together with iGEM Marburg and various other Teams from all around, the world we were part of the “German iGEM Online Meetup”, an interactive Zoom meeting over the course of two days. We attended many interesting workshops, for example about Biosecurity by Team Bielefeld and Bioinformatics by Team Moscow. The highlight of the Meetup was the poster session. We participated by designing and presenting a project overview poster about our M.A.R.S. – Bioreactor. When designing the poster in June, our system was still called “Regeneration System” rather than “Recycling System”. We received great feedback for our poster, and on top of that, we had the chance to answer a lot of interesting questions from all the participants, training us in giving spontaneous yet detailed answers in front of a scientific audience. Of course, we also enjoyed seeing the posters of other teams and asking our many follow-up questions as well.

iJET - the paper plane that unites

Initiated by us and iGEM Darmstadt

Participating teams: iGEM IISER Berhampur, iGEM IISER Tirupati, iGEM Moscow, iGEM NTHU Taiwan, iGEM Calgary, iGEM Stony Brook, iGEM Montpellier, iGEM Thessaly, iGEM Vilnius-Lithuania, iGEM Ionis Paris, iGEM UCL London, iGEM Heidelberg, iGEM Sorbonne Paris, iGEM SDU Denmark, iGEM Aalto Helsinki, iGEM Hannover, iGEM Oslo, iGEM MSP-Maastricht, iGEM Düsseldorf, iGEM Stockholm, iGEM Düsseldorf, iGEM Leiden, iGEM UPCH Peru, iGEM Nantes, iGEM Kaiserslautern and iGEM Amsterdam

iGEM – a platform not only to run your own project but also to connect with other peers from around the world. But in times of a pandemic, it is almost impossible. With all the restrictions, levels of stress, loneliness, and anxiety rose. And this is when the iGEM teams, as future scientists, need to step up with an action. Our small contribution to making the daily life of iGEM participants a little brighter, we were one of the first teams initiated an international collaboration. Tying the knot of friendship with other teams is one of our goals. In cooperation with the iGEM Team Darmstadt we were able to come up with a creative video named “iJET” hiding a very important message – connecting, bringing us closer together and showing that we all share the same sky. The small paper plane created in Germany flew around the world and reached 27 iGEM teams internationally.

Postcard Challenge

Initiated by iGEM Düsseldorf

all Postcards own Postcard As every year the iGEM team of the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf organized the iGEM postcard challenge. This was one of the first collaborations we participated in. Because of the lack of direct interactions of teams this year, we were especially enthusiastic about the upcoming collaborations over longer distances via the Internet and by post. The task in this collaboration was to design a postcard and to send 50 copies of it to Düsseldorf. In return, we would receive postcards from other participating iGEM teams. The designed postcard should show something related to our project or synthetic biology in general. We decided that our postcard should show a self-drawn cartoon-like visualization of the chassis in our bioreactor, which are the heart of our project. For our efforts, we received 30 wonderful postcards from different iGEM teams.

This collaboration was a nice alternation as we needed to become creative.

Friendship Logo Collaboration

Initiated by iGEM Düsseldorf

With iGEM Düsseldorf, iGEM IISER Bhopal and iGEM Stockholm

A few weeks after we had sent 50 copies of a self-created postcard to iGEM Düsseldorf, the team contacted us again asking whether we would be interested in participating in another collaboration with them. This time the goal was to show the friendship between iGEM Teams from different countries by just one picture containing the mascots of these teams. We loved this idea because friendly cooperations inside an iGEM team and between iGEM teams are essential to reach the individual goals. So we sent them our martian traveling in its magnetic space ship M.A.R.S. regenerating ATP from ADP and phosphate. Also, the teams IISER Bhopal and iGEM Stockholm sent in their mascot. Having everything together, iGEM Düsseldorf could create this beautiful and lovable little picture you see on the right. It was posted on Instagram on the 30th of July, the international day of friendship.
International Collaborations

Covid-19 Video Collaboration

With iGEM Team MSP-Maastricht and iGEM Nantes

The iGEM Team MSP-Maastricht reached out to us and asked whether we would be interested in participating in their Covid19-Video-Collaboration with iGEM Nantes. We gladly accepted this invitation and directly started discussing how we experienced the corona pandemic during our project.

The collaboration aimed at creating videos in which all three teams describe how the corona pandemic influenced their work. This description should be based on nine questions that were already chosen by the other two iGEM teams. However, we liked those questions a lot and also were curious to hear their answers to them.

We filmed our videos in front of the historic Elisenbrunnen in Aachen and sent them to Maastricht at the beginning of August. Together with those videos, we sent our project logo as well as pictures of us writing the first three questions down. This footage was taken to create the intro sequence of the first collaboration video. The post-production of all three videos was done by the iGEM Team MSP-Maastricht.

We really like the result of this collaboration, which are three videos giving a good overview of the impact the corona pandemic had on three different iGEM teams.

It was incredibly interesting to see how different the situations developed for iGEM teams in different countries.

The World of SynBio Video Collaboration

Initiated by iGEM Delft

We contributed to the idea of solving global problems with synthetic biology in the Video ‘The World of SynBio’ initiated by the iGEM Team TU Delft. By highlighting our project goal, we showed the enormous potential it can have.

Meetup with the iGEM Team MSP-Maastricht I

With iGEM Team MSP-Maastricht

This is an exceptionally challenging year for all iGEM teams. But in such demanding times, we need to show strength, flexibility and knowledge. Following all the safety regulations, we were able to organize three productive meet-ups with iGEM Team MSP-Maastricht.

Our team decided to deepen the roots of our international collaborations. Maastricht, located in the Netherlands, is about 18 miles away from Aachen so it was easy for us to visit them. Since we can’t fly around the European countries and organize physical interactions with other teams, traveling to the Netherlands by train was therefore something very special for us. We were able to not only present our projects to one another, get feedback and discuss the challenges we face in the laboratories, but also to strengthen our team spirit by attending a city tour. Our schedule was very tight. We had the chance to be involved in the Geneducation YouTube channel of the iGEM Team MSP-Maastricht, by filming a video explaining the science behind our project. Not only did we focus on our projects, but we also participated in educational marketing simulations as well as extensive teambuilding. In addition, we also had the opportunity to listen to three interactive presentations by doctoral and post-doctoral students of the FZ Jülich:

  • Michael Osthege, PhD candidate: “Data Analysis with Python – from assay analysis to advanced statistics”
  • Morten van Schie, Post.Doc: „Biocatalysis“.
  • Niklas Tenhaef, Post.Doc.: “Lab automation, ALE and Weimberg-Pathway”
as well as organize few-hours-long teambuilding by playing games that could boost our marketing skills, enhance our team spirit, and develop other personal skills.

Meetup with the iGEM Team MSP-Maastricht II

With iGEM Team MSP-Maastricht

We collaborated with the iGEM Team of MSP-Maastricht again a few weeks after our first Meet-Up. Whilst the previous meeting was centered on presenting and improving our project ideas and lab work, we set “Human Practices” and “Science Communication” as the focus of this collaboration. Before we started with the work, we showed Team MSP the city of Aachen with a fun, self-organized rally, where our teams had to solve small tasks in mixed groups and in front of Aachen’s most prominent sights.

Both of our teams are heavily involved in many projects from these categories. It is a common goal of our teams to not only participate in the scientific process but to also make it accessible to larger groups of people with various levels of background knowledge. We quickly discovered two possible approaches to achieve this goal: Spreading awareness about our project and its impacts on the world and informing about the basic principles, practices, and morals of synthetic biology.

A combination of both proved to be the best way to consistently create interesting and meaningful discourse with others in the field or the public. Team MSP had a lot of projects in human practices, for example their great “Proceedings Journal” initiative. Our Team was more prominent in the science communication so we could benefit from each other’s experiences. Also, it was just a lot of fun to talk about the challenges, results and takeaways we had from our previous work in HP and Sci-Com.

Virtual meeting with iGEM Nantes

With iGEM Nantes

We collaborated with Team Nantes to share our project ideas and received feedback for our concepts and used methods. Team Nantes was one of the few teams whose ultimate goal was the creation of a bioreactor. Just like our goal with our M.A.R.S. – Bioreactor. Team Nantes tried to tackle the problem of algae formation by fermenting engineered Escherichia coli in their reactor. While they try to emulate a stirred tank production fermenter, our system is much smaller and based on a 3D-printed shake reactor which enabled us to incorporate our magnetic mechanism properly. We gained a lot of insight and discussed the challenges we faced in our bioreactor design. We were able to help each other see our engineering approaches from a different point of view.