It is the first time that XH-China has participated in the iGEM competition. They had a lot of doubts and puzzles about this competition, and they did not understand the requirements of some medals very well. They contacted us and wanted to initiate cooperation between the two teams.
After discussing online, we invited XH-China to visit our lab. During the visit, we introduced some stuff about iGEM competition, for instance, the rules of the competition, human practices, schedule, and wiki editing, etc. Meanwhile, we also focused on how to develop human practices under Covid-19. Moreover, we showed them our laboratory and instruments, which the first-year high school participants were extremely interested in. Besides, we assessed the necessity and feasibility of their project.
Fig.1 Our instructor was answering XH-China’s questions
Fig.2 We were introducing some experimental operations
Fig.3 The Photo of SZU-China and XH-China
This summer we had an opportunity to be in contact with SCU-WestChina and SCU-China in Sichuan Province of China. We exchanged information about our projects, got feedback on the challenges we were facing, and put forward some solutions to the problems.
SCU-WestChina focuses on Pulmonary Fibrosis(PF)，of which the patients often suffer from Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) biofilm in the lungs. We helped them improve the design of liposome, hoping to make it more effective in transporting DNA sequences into bacteria.
Moreover, SCU-China gave us a lot of useful advice on how to tackle the various requirements to win medals in iGEM. We cleared the process of developing human practices carefully. In general, this meet up was extremely helpful for us to gain feedback and improve our project design.
Fig.4 We were giving opinions with SCU-China
Fig.5 We were introducing our project
Fig.6 The Photo of SZU-China and SCU-China
Due to the impact of the COVID-19, we can't enter the campus of SUSTech_Shenzhen for communication, so we agreed to meet in the coffee shop. At the meetup, we shared projects and raised some questions to help improve the project. And they also provided many suggestions for our project, so that we could improve the specific problems.
Furthermore, SUSTech_Shenzhen hoped to apply their protein-DNA complex to the reproduction of pathogenic bacteria. Cause we thought this may be part of the purpose of the ABC community so we invited them to join the ABC community.
Fig.7 We were giving opinions with SUSTech_Shenzhen
Fig.8 The Photo of SZU-China and SUSTech_Shenzhen
On a sunny afternoon, we visited SZPT-CHINA full of expectations. Under the SZPT-CHINA team member's guidance, we visited their lab and learned about their daily experiments. Later we respectively introduced the content of our project. We asked and answered each other in communication and had a clearer understanding of the current shortcomings. At the same time, the instructors of both teams also gave us some useful advice. We were very grateful to SZPT-CHINA for their hospitality in hosting us for a delicious dinner. We have become terrific friends. This friendship is also one of the most impressive things we have experienced in iGEM this year.
Fig.9 We were visiting SZPT-CHINA’s lab
Fig.10 We were introducing our project
Fig.11 The Photo of SZU-China and SZPT-CHINA
After introducing each other via video conference, SZU-China, WHU-China and UM_Macau found a common goal of cooperation. WHU-China hopes to add a negotiator (Escherichia coli Nissle 1917) in a confrontation between a detective (immune system) and a gangster (Pseudomonas aeruginosa). UM_Macau hopes to remove biofilms from the aquarium while SZU-China's project is called an RNAi-based biofilm dispersal agent. For better cooperation, we established the ABC (Anti-Biofilm Community) with the aim of long-term development in experiments, science communication, proposed implementation and so on.
We also designed a logo for ABC. It takes the cloud as its base pattern and is derived from the distortion of the ABC letter. This cloud can be split into two parts, the upper part has two different size seagulls which means ABC will benefit future iGEM teams, the ocean below represents ABC's inclusive embrace of knowledge and talent.
Unfortunately, we had to abandon the biofilm project so we quitted the ABC. But we still gained a lot of experience and friendship.
Fig.12 ABC’s logo
Fig.13 The Photo of Anti-Biofilm Community
We had a meeting online with NJU-China in this summer. We started with a PowerPoint presentation and had a general understanding of each other's projects. Later we discussed the cooperation of the synthetic biology handbook and other possibilities for collaboration.
Fig.14 Group photo of SZU-China and NJU-China
Together with the team members of Shenzhen Middle School, we prepared and held a lecture aimed at popularizing the knowledge of synthetic biology and iGEM to middle school students.
Fig.15 photo of the lecture
This year, in order to inform the public about synthetic biology and iGEM better, we have invited other iGEM teams to write a popular science handbook for high school students to read. We have collected and combined the project profiles of 12 teams to give readers a more visual and concrete understanding of synthetic biology and stimulate their interest.