Team:Hong Kong CityU/Collaborations


Partnership of CityU iGEM Team with


Since the HK_CPU-WFN-WYY high school team proposed to work on a project quite similar to ours, which involved investigating the potential of using cutinase as a plasticdegrading enzyme, and that of our team involves creating a multi-plastic degrading bug, both teams have been holding regular meetings to share our ideas and insights on plastic degradation.

Our CityU team had originally offered to provide technical and lab space support to the HK_CPU-WFN-WYY team for certain wet-lab experiments that involved the use of specialized lab equipment such as PCR machines and the scanning electron microscope. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the enforcement of social distancing rules in Hong Kong, visitors to CityU laboratories were not allowed.

Partnership HK_CPU_WFN_WYY

Screen Capture on Zoom of the meeting with HK_CPU-WFN-WYY team

Partnership of CityU iGEM Team with

the Hong_Kong_HKU iGEM Team

In late June of 2020, our CityU Team held the first collaborative meeting with the Hong_Kong_HKU team. We presented and exchanged ideas on our project plans and both teams provided useful feedbacks that were mutually beneficial. The HKU team raised several points of concern regarding the project implementation plan of the CityU team which include: the binding efficiency of the target plastic-degrading enzymes to various substrates, the ability of bacteria to uptake plastic wastes, the culture conditions of genetically-modified bacteria for plastic biodegradation, and the metabolic burden of the different plastic-degrading enzymes. The feedbacks provided by the HKU team were extremely useful in helping us to improve the project design.

The project of the HKU team involves designing a metabolic engineering strategy to minimize undesirable impacts of microevolution on the population and performance of genetically-engineered cells. Our CityU team has discussed and explored potential collaboration with the HKU team to apply their invention to potentially improve the performance of our multi plastic-degrading bugs.


Photo of the meeting with Hong_Kong_HKU team

Partnership of CityU iGEM Team with

the HKUST iGEM Team

In late July of 2020, we met up with the HKUST team. Both teams presented and exchanged ideas on our iGEM project plans, and reached an agreement that both teams would address the problem of plastic pollution in different ways. The HKUST team proposed to create an alternative biomaterial to replace the commonly used nonbiodegradable microfibers while our CityU team proposed to create a multi-plastic degrading bug that has the ability to breakdown different types of non-biodegradable plastics. In addition, we discussed additional collaborative efforts that both teams could do to publicize and raise awareness on the issue of plastic pollution to the general public.

To achieve the latter goal, both teams have held regular meetings to discuss how can we deliver and share our ideas with the rest of society on the global problem with plastic wastes and the use of synthetic biology to tackle plastic pollution problems. After a couple of months of discussion, we decided to hold a series of outreach events to share our ideas through various platforms. For instance, through Youtube videos, inviting HKUST/CityU teams to be guest speakers in related mini-talks for high school students, and organizing a public talk on this topic with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). To find out more about these initiatives, please check out the science communication page.


Screen Capture on Google hangout of the meeting with HKUST team

CityU HK IGEM 2020