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Figure 1 - Image of Prof. Dr. Peter Kremsner
This year, MSP-Maastricht’s iGEM team has started a journal initiative that gives participating iGEM Teams the opportunity to publish their work in a proceedings journal. Throughout the process, each team could submit an article that was then peer-reviewed by other teams who joined this initiative. At the same time, each submitting team also peer-reviewed two articles. The teams received the comments from both their peer-reviewers and were given time to make the recommended changes. After submission of the final versions, all participating teams could vote for their favorite article. The ones with the highest number of votes will be published in the printed version of the journal, making the entire process similar to any other scientific journal. Overall, this allowed all students to gain experience in publishing, reviewing, and editing. Due to the impact of COVID-19 on the lab work, the articles did not necessarily have to feature the teams’ research results but could also talk about the history of iGEM or anything related to synthetic biology. Since Tübingen is one of the main locations where a potential corona vaccine is being tested, we decided to interview the director of the University Hospital Tübingen who is also the head of the clinical trial for the vaccine: Prof. Dr. Peter Kremsner. Through this interview, we gained important insight into the current status of the trial. With the consent of Prof. Kremsner, we were happy to contribute our interview to the journal initiative and very proud to be a part of the printed version.

MSP Muggle Journal

Figure 2 - mRNA based vaccines
After receiving great comments and feedback about our Interview with Prof. Dr. Peter Kremsner about Covid 19 and vaccines studies we decided to also participate in the Muggle Journal from iGEM MSP. In this article we focused on delivering the same content but in a much easier way to address a wider public. Information about the SARS-CoV-2 virus is now also available for interested people who don't have a scientific background. Additionally, this time we designed some figures to make the understanding of the content easier and visual. This article will be published online and as a printed version.
Figure 1

iGEM Team Waterloo was a close partner of us for exchanging helpful information and ideas, especially concerning the drylab. During our icebreaker meeting, the large intersection of our projects and of our plans for modelling became apparent: we both wanted to explore and improve the binding of a protein to metal ions with the help of bioinformatics tools. In the following meetings, we proceeded to give updates on our respective progress and discussed problems that appeared. For instance, we learned about which tools work best for which tasks and a new way to model inorganic atoms, while we could share a workflow for finding possible positions to mutate in a protein. After exchanging our experiences and results in molecular dynamics simulation, we were informed about the possibility of the usage of quantum mechanical force fields for this cause. We are very thankful for this input which influenced our path strongly.
Figure 3 - Image of a meeting with iGEM Team Waterloo

We collaborated with iGEM Team Stuttgart which came to be a great fit because of our shared interest in the topic of water pollution. Our aim was to raise awareness on the topic. With two different views on the same topic, we figured that a collaboration could be very fruitful. Team Stuttgart created an effective filter system named lac-man to free water from drug residues. In contrast, we want to tackle heavy metal pollution. For the implementation of either project, the support of the public is crucial. That's why we commenced with diverse outreach projects, raising awareness for water pollution. Outreach and science communication are, politically and ethically, amongst the most important steps to raise awareness of an issue which will affect everyone. Moreover, science relies on the acceptance of the public and the political sentiment around certain issues. It is thus of great importance to get people's attention and understanding for a problem in order to get the support you urgently need for those big environmental issues. With our campaign on social media, we aimed to get people's attention to a topic that has unforeseen effects on the world and is, in our opinion, under-presented when looking at the precarious situations threatening our world, safety and health. After all, life in water and clean water resources are also recognized as important challenges in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
For more information have a look in human practices.
Figure 4 - Picture of a meeting with Team Stuttgart

As a two-years project, Team Peru aims to design a dipstick with which they are able to detect cadmium contaminated fish. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and customs related delivery issues, they were not able to enter the laboratory in the 2020 iGEM year. Nevertheless, iGEM Peru used their time wisely to design and plan a two-year project. As their dipstick idea included many unknown variables, one of our team members, who has experience in point-of-care dipstick diagnostic tests, met with Team Peru to discuss their project, putative pitfalls and improvements. After various meetings both teams have benefited from ideas and information exchange. Furthermore, since it is a two-years project, our team will remain in contact to stretch this collaboration over two years.
Figure 5 - Peru collaboration

iGEM Team Edinburgh, who were developing a biosensor as well, had the great idea of writing a manual to summarize the knowledge gained about working with biosensors. We were asked to contribute by adding our own experiences for an even more comprehensive manual. As we see the importance in documenting new discoveries and experiences for advances in research and to help future (iGEM) teams with their work concerning biosensors, we happily agreed. At the same time, it was very interesting for us to see what other iGEM teams learned in our area of research, which helped us to gain a new point of view on our own project. Fortunately, it's never too late to learn new things and apply them to our work. This collaboration will not only help future teams, it is already helping existing ones. Since this Manual would have been a great kick start for us as well, we found ourselves in a position knowing the urges for all the upcoming teams with the same questions very well! We hope to have contributed to further success for all the upcoming teams in the future. Thank you so much for this opportunity.
The 2020 iGEM project of Team IISER Pune addresses the increasing threat of resistance to Artemisinin Combination Therapies (ACT) for Malaria. Their solution is the design of a novel class of orally administered drugs targeting host-pathogen interactions. Albeit not having similar projects, we decided to support them either way but facilitating the contact to Prof. TP Velavan, a group leader at the Institute for Tropical Medicine in Tübingen. Prof. Velavan is a leading researcher in Molecular Genetics of Infectious Diseases who also focuses on Malaria treatment resistance. We are happy that he was able to support Team IISER Pune, demonstrating that collaboration also entails sharing each others’ networks.