Team:Nanjing NFLS/Partnership


NFLS and Nanjing_NFLS

Inspiration and Design

Our partner team NFLS and us Nanjing_NFLS are both from Nanjing Foreign Language School, and the close collaboration between us naturally grows into partnership. Through exchanging ideas and hunting for topics in school workshops, we both fall in love with the idea of Microbial Fuel Cells, which can degrade waste meanwhile produce energy.
After doing some researches, our partner team NFLS find that lignocellulosic biomass is the most abundant and promising renewable feed stock in the world. However, the pre-treatment of lignocelluloses and the byproducts are harmful to the environment. NFLS team decides to degrade excessive cellulose into glucose by engineering E.coli in the anode of MFCs.
Our team notices the bottleneck of current MFCs, low electricity output. And to improve the energy output, our team tries to overexpress certain genes to enhance the electricity generation and transfer efficiency. In future, our team’s project may combine with our partner’s.

School Club

We have regular discussions to make progress together. In the last semester, both of our teams have members who took part in the cell-engineering elective course. After class, we gathered together to discuss about our projects, such as what human practices we need to do and together revise both teams’ project to the final version, by consulting to professors and experts.
Besides discussing after elective course, we also make a perfect use of iGEM club activities. When team CPU_China lectured about their project to iGEM club members, we decided to do science education for people of different ages. Also, we appreciated the hardware from CPU_China, and NFLS’s interview with their 3D printing club shed light on an illuminative instruction to our hardwares.

Improve projects

Our partner team inspires us, by introducing Fenton Reagent to cope with pollution (like phenolic compounds) come with the pretreatment of cellulose. After consulting together to Prof. Yong, we learn that Fenton Reagent can be produced in the cathode of MFCs by the actions of catalysts and electricity currents. Therefore, we improved our project my modifying the cathode, providing another way to treat cellulose problems.
In August, both teams attend Nanjing Regional meetup at GenScript Biotech Corporation, and Beijing International iGEMer Collaboration Seminar (online). We act efficiently; interpret our ideas of MFC improvements, and both learnt a lot from the cooperation between us and communication with other teams.
Later, our partner also inspires by our kill switch, and designs an opaque MFC container to help both our team implement the kill switch (more specifically, a light switch). In the wetlab, our partner team also helps us with analysis of enzymatic activity, proof of plasmid construction by gel electrophoresis. We, in return, help them in art design especially the team wiki and presentation poster.

Human practices

Biology is closely related to people’s daily life. However, in Chinese schools biology is not treated as the main subject. Also due to outdated textbook content, students failed to update knowledge of biology development in recent decades. Therefore, education towards students is of significant importance to the promotion of synthetic biology.
Curricula of NFLS and Nanjing_NFLS cover knowledge that are suitable for different age groups, from pupils to junior to senior high school students. Since the savvy of students varies from each other, we two teams prepared different courses specifically facing each group.
We offered presentations to elementary school and junior high. The courses for pupils were mainly illuminative, aiming to arouse their interest in biology, while the elective courses for junior highs appeared to be relatively professional, hoping to prepare them for future biology courses and possibly iGEM competitions.
Team NFLS presented workshops for senior highs. Their lectures and intriguing activities were much more academic (include more lab technical skills) and served as strong supports to appeal to future or current iGEMers. They wish to prompt senior high students to care more about synthetic biology and become important parts of iGEM community.

Both of our team has huge influence towards the another in different stages, from brainstorm, design, to build and test, improvement and Human Practices. Partnership is an inalienable part of both our team and crucial to our success.