Aalto-Helsinki 2020



Tytti Jämsä

Tytti is our team leader. She was responsible for project coordination, lab planning, lab work and graphics.

Carla Coll

Carla is our team vice-leader. Her main responsibilities were project coordination, presentations, modelling, wiki programming and writing. She was also part of the funding team.

Daria Pająk

Daria is a wet-lab member. She was responsible for lab work, plasmid design and wiki writing.

Emilia Barannik

Emilia is a wet-lab member. She participated in lab planning, lab work and human practices. She was also responsible for funding and social media.

Gustav Åberg

Gustav is a wet-lab member. He was responsible for plasmid design, lab work and finances.

Natalia Lindholm

Natalia is a wet-lab member. She was responsible for human practices. She also participated in lab work.

Amanda Sandelin

Amanda is a dry-lab member. She was responsible for modelling. She also took part in human practices, wiki programming and funding.

Artur Gynter

Artur is a dry-lab member. His responsibilities were modelling and app development and wiki programming. He also helped with wiki writing.

Julia Manninen

Julia is a wet-lab member. She participated in lab work. She was also a part of human practices and social media.

Maria Rajakenttä

Maria is a dry-lab member. Her responsibilities included modelling, human practices and social media.


Heli Viskari

Heli is a University Lecturer at Aalto University, Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems and she has been involved in the iGEM team advisor activities since 2015. Her professional field of expertise includes molecular genetics and synthetic biology as well as cell and molecular biology in general. She has been our principal advisor and has been helping us from the ideation phase to solving issues we came across during our lab work.

Markus Linder

Markus is a Professor of Biomolecular Materials at the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems at the Aalto University School of Chemical Engineering, and the leader of the Biomolecular Materials research group. His research combines synthetic biology and materials, studying novel biosynthetic production as well as interactions between living and non-living systems. He has helped us during ideation and pushed us to think about the bigger picture and story behind our project.


Minna Poranen

Minna Poranen is a Principal Investigator and Adjunct Professor in molecular virology at the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences of the University of Helsinki. She has strong expertise in microbial genetics and molecular biology, with special interest in molecular virology and the use of microbial viruses as tools for synthetic biology. She guided us throughout the ideation process, as well as helped to arrange our funding.

Bart Rooijakkers

Bart Rooijakkers is a PhD student in the Biomolecular Materials group at Aalto University with a background in molecular biology, protein engineering and protein production. His research interests are mainly related to recombinant fusion proteins with Cellulose Binding Domains and other functional protein domains, which can be combined with various nanocellulose materials to study their interactions and improve nanocellulose gels and composite materials. He helped us with ordering primers and with our practical issues.

Cristopher Jonkergouw

Chris is a doctoral candidate in Biomolecular materials research group in the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems. He has been a great support to us throughout the entirety of the practical part of our project: he helped us solve plasmid and primer design issues, find appropriate materials in our lab, recommended experts, discussed various possibilities concerning microfluidics, as well as took microscopy pictures for us.


Jack Beresford

Jack is a PhD researcher at the University of Helsinki studying speciation genetics in hybridizing European red wood ants. He has a BSc in Zoology and a Masters of Research from the University of Sheffield, UK. Jack has given us some good points on how to run Rosetta in the Aalto scientific computing cluster using several arrays.

Ricky Nencini

Ricky graduated from Charles University in Prague, field Biophysical Chemistry, in 2019. Currently, he is working in the Institute of Biotechnology in Helsinki, trying to develop better tools to verify the quality of biologically related simulations. Ricky has given us some insights on some MatLab parameters that we needed for our model.

Rita Cerejeira-Matos

Rita Cerejeira Matos has studied Biochemistry (BSc), Toxicology (MSc) and is finishing the PhD in Genetics at University of Helsinki. Both Ritas were extremely helpful when it came to confirming our protocols and discussing our not always so expected results. Additionally Rita Cerejeira-Matos has offered her help in cell imaging and microscopy.

Rita Turpin

Rita Turpin is a PhD candidate researching breast cancer in Juha Klefström's research group as part of the Translational Cancer Medicine Program (CAN-PRO) at the University of Helsinki. She obtained her BSc in biological sciences at the University of Georgia (USA), and completed her MSc in Human Genetics at the University of Helsinki with a minor in Molecular Biology. Both Ritas were extremely helpful when it came to confirming our protocols and discussing our not always so expected results. Additionally, Rita Turpin has helped us with flow cytometry experiments.

Varun Sharma

Varun Sharma is currently enrolled as a PhD student in Materials Research and Nanosciences at University of Helsinki. He has a versatile background in the field of nanoelectronics, semiconductors, device physics, chemistry of thin films, and surface science. He has MSc in Nanoelectronics systems and B.Engg. in Electronics and Communications. Professionally, he is working as a Senior Process Engineer in ASM Microchemistry Oy where one of his daily activities involve research and development of thin-films. Varun has helped us with some MatLab parameters and has had a look at the units we were using in MatLab.


We thank Ilse Kaaja, who organized Design Thinking Workshops, where we took a closer look at the learning process. We practiced balancing the divergence and convergence of topics, as well as moving from an abstract idea into a concrete goal.

Rashad Ismayil prepared a session in which he taught us the basics of funding and pitching. We learnt how to present our team and the project in a way that is more likely to spark potential sponsor’s interest. He also reviewed and approved our one pager, as well as recommended several important contact persons to us.

In addition to workshops mentioned above, we are extremely grateful for the support from alumni of Aalto-Helsinki iGEM teams. Each of us was assigned a person to talk to about any problems we may face throughout our project.


Our lab work would not be as enjoyable and (nearly) trouble free without people who made sure everything required was available and were always within email-reach when we needed help.

Ulla Åhman & Kaisa Hytti – Lab technicians. We are grateful for familiarizing us with lab spaces, explaining safety rules, providing us with all necessary equipment and chemicals, as well as guiding us through obtaining an MTA agreement.
Yin Yin. Provided us with TOP10 and BL21 E. coli strains.
Norman Adlung. Provided us with the pET28a-sfGFP plasmid.
Aino Peltola. Provided us with a UV lamp for wastewater sterilization.


We have contacted many experts from several different fields, including environmental protection, synthetic biology, legislation and wastewater treatment process.

ACADEMIA: Jukka Hassinen, Benjamin Wilson, Anna Mikola, Merja Penttilä, Henri Xhaard, Tomi Laurila, Lasse Murtomäki, Michael Lienemann, Silvan Scheller, Norman Adlung, Ville Paavilainen, Maria Sammalkorpi, Ville Jokinen, Shimshon Belkin, Tomasz Płociniczak.

INDUSTRY: Juha Heijari, Otto Järvinen, Katriina Rajala, Paula Lindell, Natalia Gemza, Sara Rantamäki, Jarkko Laanti, Chemist in a spanish Wastewater Treatment Plant, Cristoph Ort, Adriano Joss, Christa McArdell, Jaana Saukko.

ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS: Jari Männynsalo, Matti Leppänen.

LEGISLATION: Expert in Innovations and Patents, Environmental Lawyer in Spain, Niina Vieno, Ari Kangas.

More detailed descriptions about their background can be found in our Integrated Human Practices page.


Fabio Tuccillo. Fabio Tuccillo is a Master student in Food Science at the University of Helsinki. His passion for research goes along with that of graphic design. While studying, he works as a freelance illustrator for private clients. His style varies incredibly according to the requests, but when possible he loves to make scientific illustration for papers and educational materials. He assisted the team with app and presentation illustrations.

Spark Wilkie. Directing and editing with a unique artistic sense, having a rich background from 15+ years of performing and coordinating in the hectic commercial industry in Hong Kong, implementing a different perspective into expressing the thoughts and emotion through body language to visuals. Wilkie works very well under fast pace and pressure, communication is at his best. He developed an unique style of creative editing thanks to his dancing background, and he’s dedicated in training to be a steadicam operator in the near future. He assisted the team with the promotional video.

Oskari Valtonen. Oskari Valtonen is a Master student in Industrial Engineering and Management at the Lappeenranta University of Technology. In his free time, he enjoys Japanese cars and photography. He assisted the team with drone photography.

Markus Sommers. Photographer, author of the attributions banner picture.


In order to make our informative mobile game available for people who do not speak English, especially the younger audiences growing up in non-English speaking countries, we decided to translate it into 13 other languages. We thank everyone who helped us with the translations:

Czech - Ewa Żywiołek
Italian - Francesco Iacoviello
Portuguese - Agnus Barros & Emma Lindholm
Slovene - Neja Sirc
Russian - Anastasia Gynter & Evelina Semenova

In addition to that, some of our team members were responsible for or contributed to following translations:

Catalan & Spanish – Carla Coll Costa
Finnish – Emilia Barannik & Natalia Lindholm
French – Maria Rajakenttä
German – Julia Manninen
Polish – Daria Pająk
Russian – Artur Gynter
Swedish - Amanda Sandelin & Gustav Åberg


We thank our sponsors for supporting our project: Aalto University (School of Business, School of Chemical Engineering, School of Electrical Engineering, School of Engineering, School of Science), University of Helsinki, HiLIFE, Andritz, Kemian Teollisuus, TEK, Teollisuuden Vesi, ThermoFisher Scientific, VTT.

Special thank you to HSY for guiding us throughout our project, taking us on a virtual tour through Viikinmäki wastewater treatment plant, familiarizing us with the removal process, allowing us to film on their premises, as well as providing us with wastewater samples.


School of Chemical Engineering of Aalto University has been organizing a Synthetic Biology course available to all Aalto University students interested in learning about genetic engineering and modern techniques used in biotechnology. It took place in March 2020 and three members of our team (Emilia Barannik, Gustav Åberg and Natalia Lindholm) attended the lectures. We want to especially thank the responsible teacher, Merja Penttilä, for allowing us to introduce the idea of iGEM and discuss our team’s project with other students.

Special thanks to HSY for all their support

Kemistintie 1, Espoo, Finland