Throughout the development of PHOCUS we received tremendous support from countless individuals, including professors, our instructors, sponsors and experts. This page is dedicated to thanking them for believing in us and our project.

Our professors and instructors played a vital role in helping us develop our ideas and build PHOCUS into a balanced multidisciplinary project. Additionally, experts and other stakeholders helped us define the scope of the project, to ensure that our work meets stakeholder values and demands.

Furthermore, we would like to express our appreciation to both our sponsors and those who contributed through our crowdfunding campaign. Without their financial contributions and gifts, we would not have been able to make PHOCUS happen. We thank you for your trust in us!

Our contribution

We divided the team into sub teams that each worked on a part of the project. These sub teams were as follows:

Team member Role Sub-team
Alicia Rodríguez Molina Wetlab Manager & Graphic Designer Wet lab, Editorial, PR, Wiki homepage design, Graphic Design
Eline Doornenbal Human Practices Manager & Entrepreneur Human Practices, Entrepreneurship, Dry lab, Outreach, Safety, Presentation, Editorial
Fiona Horne Strategy Manager Entrepreneurship, Outreach, Wiki homepage design, Editorial
Gabriela van Leersum PR & Outreach Manager Outreach, PR, Promo video, Sponsoring, Wet lab
Iris Forkink Science Manager & Safety Manager Outreach, Presentation, Wet lab, Safety
Javier Navarro Molecular Design Manager Wet lab, Graphic Design, Video Editing
Maartje Spaans Wiki Manager Outreach, Wiki homepage design, Wet lab
Nick Bowring Team Manager Dry lab, Entrepreneurship, Presentation, Promo video, Sponsoring, Wiki homepage design
Ramon van Valderen Drylab Manager Dry lab, Sponsoring, Editorial
Shikha Sebastian Sponsoring and Finance Manager Sponsoring, Dry lab, Entrepreneurship, Human Practices, Promo video
Willem van Holthe Human Practices Manager & Entrepreneur Human Practices, Entrepreneurship, Dry lab, Presentation, Safety

We would like to thank:

Principal Investigators

Dr. Timon Idema
Dr. Christophe Danelon


Ana Maria Restrepo Sierra
Britte Bouchaut
Charlotte Koster
Elisa Godino
Esengül Yildirim
Martin Holub

General support

The department of Bionanoscience of the TU Delft for kindly providing us with an ML-1 lab and additional access to an ML-1 lab suitable for working with bacteriophages, despite the Covid-19 limitations on the faculty.

Project support and advice

Marijke Luttik (TU Delft) for training and coaching us through The Modelling Office during team formation and beyond.

Lab support

Dr. Franklin Luzia de Nobrega (University of Southampton, formerly TU Delft) for giving us an introduction lecture on bacteriophages, for advising us on our bacteriophage experiments, suggesting to use CRISPR Cas9 to target the wildtype bacteriophage and for brainstorming different bioinformatics tools we could use for finding and constructing bacteriophages, although we decided not to go through with this part of the project.

Scientific advice (wet lab)

Dr. Duncan McMillan (TU Delft)
for giving advice on protein expression.

Dr. Greg Bokinsky (TU Delft)
for guiding us to find the expression plasmids needed for coexpression of proteins with different inductors in our RNA interference experiments and helping us with bioinformatic tools to annotate our sequences.

Prof. Jozef Vanden Broeck
(KU Leuven) for guiding us in the beginning of our project and providing important information about the biology and physiology of the locusts.

MSc. Sam van Beljouw (TUDelft) & MSc. Sebastian Kieper (TUDelft)
for guiding us in the beginning of our project and providing important information about the biology and physiology of the locusts.

Wet lab

Dr. Ana Rita Costa (TU Delft)
for providing us with wildtype T7 bacteriophages, determining the pfu of this stock, providing us with 6% top-agar and advising us on the safety of working with bacteriophage in ML-I.

Anke Amweg-Welter (lab technician at TU Delft), Jan Wignand (lab technician at TU Delft) and Alexandra Tzamara (lab assistant at TU Delft)
for ensuring our lab materials and orders were delivered as well as autoclaved and waste was properly disposed of.

Dr. Chirlmin Choo
Provided purified DICER for our dsRNA processing experiments.

MSc. Boris Estrada Bonilla (TUDelft)
for providing purified DICER for our dsRNA processing experiments.

Ilja Westerlaken (research technician at TU Delft)
for providing chemicals and giving recommendations for RNA experiments.

Dr. Stan Brouns (TU Delft)
for attending the BeNeLux meeting and answering questions of the public during a Q&A session, and his lab for providing us with bacteriophages and pKD46 recombineering plasmids.

Susanne Hage (lab coordinator at TU Delft)
for helping with safety evaluations and lab equipment.

Dr. Zhanar Abil (TU Delft)
for providing chemicals and buffers, and giving advice on our experimental approaches.

Leiden iGEM team 2020
for providing the BPUL laccase (BBa_K863000) from their iGEM distribution kit.

Dry lab

Annejet Bosman
For creating artistic figures explaining our dry lab models.

Dr. Carey D Nadell, (Dartmouth College), professor of Emilia Simmons,
for giving us permission to use the biofilm framework and bringing us in contact with Emilia Simmons, the leader of the framework.

Prof. Cristian Picioreanu TU Delft
For advising us about biofilm models.

Emilia Simmons
for answering questions about her paper and providing the latest version of the biofilm simulation framework, on which we based biofilm model

Omer Lavy (Tel Aviv University)
for sending us the raw data of his work on the locust gut microbiome and for helping us with questions about the gut microbiome and biofilm.

Wiki support

Martijn de Heer
for animating the homepage and helping us design it.

Human Practices support

Outreach, education and PR

Franneke Forkink (KOK kinderopvang)
for reading our children’s book to children.

Drs. Jerwin de Graaf (TU Delft)
for meeting us once, for offering his help with scripts and written pieces for the press and for his advice on how to approach the public with our efforts to engineer bacteriophages, i.e. viruses, during the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Lisette de Groot (foundation OGJG) & Marit Lommelaars (foundation OGJG)
for enabling us to give a series of three lectures about the locust problem, biotechnology, viruses and our project to the elderly on behalf of foundation Oud Geleerd Jong Gedaan. In this context we would also like to thank the central library of Rotterdam (Bibliotheek Rotterdam) for hosting us in person, three times, with appropriate Covid-19 measures in place.

Loek Andriessen (study association Hooke at TU Delft)

for co-organizing an iGEM lunch lecture for students with study association Hooke.

Madelon Breedveld (Drukkerij De Bink)
for printing our children’s book free of charge.

Marjolein Willems (study association LIFE at TU Delft)
for co-organizing an iGEM lunch lecture for students with study associations LIFE and Hooke.

Mees Fox (study association LIFE at TU Delft)
for hosting us in the context of Salon at the sports and culture facility X of the TU Delft and leading a discussion about our project and locust control with the public.

Miroslava Silva Ordaz (Delft International School)z
for enabling us to read our children’s book to children at the Delft International School.

Nicole van ‘t Woud Hofland (
for reaching out to us to write four blogs for and publishing our content.

Sheba Agarwal-Jans (We Talk Science)
for interviewing us for a podcast on the We Talk Science platform.

Soraya Koendjbiharie (360 Degrees Communications)
for meeting once a month during the competition and giving us advice on our social media presence and how to reach sponsors.

Sudharsan Varadharajan (founder of Cambrionics Life Science)
for meeting multiple times, for inspiring us to create education and outreach material for children, for inviting us to their weekly quizzes and for hosting us as a keynote speaker during a discussion session at the end of a quiz.

Maastricht iGEM team 2020
for including us in their journal initiative.

All iGEM teams who submitted a one-line summary of their project to us for the synbio video.


We would like to thank the journalists and their associated organisations for showing interest in our project and helping us reach a wider audience.

  • Het Kontakt Alblasserwaard
  • Menzo Willems of De Telegraaf
  • TU Delta

Integrated Human Practices

Abraham Abhishek (MetaMeta) and Frank van Steenbergen (MetaMeta)
for orchestrating the 1st Virtual Practitioners Conference on Desert Locust Management 2020 (August) and hosting us as a speaker.

Prof. Alexandre Latchininsky (FAO)
for agreeing to being interviewed twice in the context of human practices and answering several questions about the FAO and locust control via email.

Em. Prof. Arnold van Huis (formerly WUR)
for agreeing to be interviewed in the context of human practices and answering several questions regarding the entomology of locusts via email.

Dr. Cyril Piou (CIRAD)
for agreeing to be interviewed in the context of human practices and continued email contact regarding our project approach afterwards.

Dr. Lotte Asveld (TU Delft)
for teaching us about Value-Sensitive Design, Safe-By-Design and Responsible Innovation.

Mohammed Shanu (resident of Jaipur, India)
for conducting our questionnaire in the context of human practices in his hometown, the city of Jaipur, India.

Remco and Gerard Bod (Simonis BV)
for meeting us on the university campus and providing insights in locust control efforts from a business perspective and for their continued support of our project, including sponsoring.

Susan Nguku (Ministry of Agriculture Water and Irrigation (Devolution), Kenya)
for conducting our questionnaire among farmers in Kenya in the context of human practices.

Special thanks to everyone who agreed to be interviewed by us:
Prof. Alexandre Latchininsky (FAO)
Em. Prof. Arnold van Huis (formerly WUR)
Prof. Baldwyn Torto (ICIPE)
Dr. Cécile van der Vlugt (RIVM)
Dr. Cyril Piou (CIRAD)
Frank van Steenbergen (MetaMeta)
Harold van der Valk (Falconsult)
Prof. Jeffrey B. Jones (University of Florida)
Prof. Jozef Vanden Broeck (KU Leuven)
Dr. Mamoon ALSaraiAlalawi (CRC)
Mohammed Shanu (resident of Jaipur, India)
Omer Lavy (Tel Aviv University)
Dr. Piers Millet (Vice President for Safety and Security at iGEM)
Remco and Gerard Bod (Simonis BV)
Dr. Steven Hagens (MICREOS)
Susan Nguku (Ministry of Agriculture Water and Irrigation (Devolution), Kenya)
Dr. Zoë Robaey (WUR)

Read the full description of each interviewee here.


Alexander Ribbink (Keen Venture Partners)
for giving us insights into how investors view projects, being a venture capitalist himself.

Dr. Robert Mans (TU Delft)
for providing information about cell growth for manufacturing purposes.

Bharath Balakrishnan (Student at TU Delft)
for assisting with producing the manufacturing plan on SuperPro Designer.