DTU iGEM Team 2016

The team won a gold medal and was nominated for "Best Hardware, Overgrad" and for "Best Poster, Overgrad" for their project

Yeastilization

Current bio-based processes are limited to conventional organisms that are optimized for a limited number of substrates due to a lack of genetic methods for non-conventional production hosts that allow for growth on more varied substrates. This has lead to a “food vs. fuel” debate as the vast majority of biorefineries rely on edible substrates such as corn, wheat or sugar cane to produce valuable proteins or chemicals. The development of new technologies, such as CRISPR/Cas9, has dramatically reduced the effort required to genetically modify non-model organisms, and is effectively removing the barrier between model and non-model organisms. In our project we utilized Yarrowia lipolytica, in order to address the food vs. fuel problem while simultaneously making industrial biotechnology an integrated part of waste handling.

Read more about the project on the iGEM homepage

Team

Members

Gijs Verkleij, MSc. Biotechnology, 3rd semester

What is your motivation for joining the iGEM team?
"Synthetic biologists are the next rockstars! Not just me who’s saying that, according to wired.com: "biologists are the next rock star designers"

What did you work on during the project?
"I worked very hard in the lab during the summer, designing and executing the CRISPR strategy for the insertion of the URA3 gene. I helped plan and host a lecture during our
BioBrick tutorial, and helped supervising the high-school students in the lab."
Stefani Pjaca, MSc. Biotechnology, 3rd semester

What is your motivation for joining the iGEM team?
iGEM is an once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunity to be a part of an ambitious team and to develop a project from scratch to the final jamboree in Boston and hopefully contribute to the synthetic biology community.

What did you work on during the project?
I was involved in planning and executing our BioBrick tutorial, and was in contact with Novozymes. I worked during the summer in the lab on knocking out PEX10 using the CRISPR-Cas9 system in Y. lipolytica.
Mohamad Ali Khalil El Lakany, MSc. Bioinformatics and Systems Biology, 2nd semester

What is your motivation for joining the iGEM team?
I like the entrepreneurial aspect to the whole project. Having and idea and making that idea happen. To watch it expand into something useful, beautiful, practical and lastly, presentable. To handle and overcome the obstacles you meet on that road. Yes, it really thrills me. iGEM is exactly that and more.

What did you work on during the project?
I helped the team by spending the majority of my time in the lab, planning, troubleshooting and excecuting the substrate screening experiments. I networked and facilitated contact with key university faculty and members of industry, condusive for the aim of our project. I applied- and procured samples of waste- and byproducts from several industrial processes in addition to acquiring sponsorships for branded clothing, bags and accessories for our team. ThenI also had the privilege of pitching our project in the "Green challenge" competition (DTU) and at the "iGEM European Experience"-event in Paris (IONIS).
Isabella Loft, MSc. Bioinformatics and Systems Biology, 2nd semester

What is your motivation for joining the iGEM team?
Utilising my skills in concert with other smart people to create something that may some day change or better the life of even a few are always a great way to learn even more.

What did you work on during the project?
I helped organize the team building efforts, and was a big part of planning our BioBrick tutorial. I helped writing our codon optimization tool, and was main responsible of the layout and architecture of our wiki.

Mikkel Storm, BSc. Biotechnology. 5th semester

What is your motivation for joining the iGEM team?
I want to further my horizon with a special course in synthetic biology. It is a great motivation to participate in a competition and i look forward meeting other participants and see their projects.

What did you work on during the project?
I helped the team collect the industrial waste products, together with planning, executing and data analysis of the substrate screening. I planned our visit to Grønningaard, which helped us collect valuable information about the waste product. I was responsible for the reactive coding and mobie views on our wiki, and was involved in testing our Biosensor project at Bagsværd High school.

Klaudia Ciurkot, MSc. Biotechnology, 2nd semester

What is your motivation for joining the iGEM team?
The list of reasons is quite long, in fact I cannot find a reason to not join! iGEM is the great opportunity to work on a scientific project with a group of amazing people, dedicated to science while having fun as well.

What did you work on during the project?
I helped prepare our fund applications, and helped design and clone our BioBricks for expression in Y. lipolytica.

Trine Sofie Bladt, MSc. Biotechnology. 3rd semester

What is your motivation for joining the iGEM team?
If you can’t have fun with what you are going to work with the rest of your life - what’s the point of it all?

What did you work on during the project?
I helped fundraising and securing financial back-up for the project. I was involved in the contact with suppliers in retrieving sponsership deals. In the lab I worked the entire summer on designing and executing the strategy for CRISPR-Cas9 implemented knock-out of PEX10 in Y. lipolytica. I also assisted Kristoffer in laboratory work on the assembly of pSB1A8YL, and helped clone our BioBricks.

Baosheng James Hou, MSc. Biomedical Engineering. 3rd semester

What is your motivation for joining the iGEM team?
Over a lifetime there are only so many moments where you can join a force of good and become a part of something greater than ourselves. There is a divine message in the code of life - Mankind will be united, we will see past our differences, diseases shall be cured, species shall be saved, Mother Nature shall be defended. In the name of synthetic biology shall we march bravely down not the easiest path, but one that’s true.

What did you work on during the project?
Apart from providing the team with moral support and good mood, I helped organize the team through my position in the administrative group. I also organized team-building events. Academically, I helped to make the first version of our codon optimization algorithm, and led the genome-scale modelling efforts.

Mathias Blicher Bjerregård, MSc. Mathematical Modelling. 3rd semester

What is your motivation for joining the iGEM team?
Improve my experience on applied data analysis and modeling

What did you work on during the project?
I programmed the microfermentation platform, helped with exploring codon optimization theory. I helped the other members establish a mathematical understanding and interpretation of genome-scale modeling and phenotype phase planes. I wrote the code for extending the genome-scale model of Y. lipolytica with the beta-carotene pathway.

Line Andresen, BSc. Biotechnology. 5th semester

What is your motivation for joining the iGEM team?
Synthetic biology is the coolest! I talked to one of last years team members, and I knew I had to be a part of this years iGEM team. I want to use biology to solve some of the problems we are facing and will face in the future.

What did you work on during the project?
I was a big part of the Interlab project, and did most of the cloning required. I provided feedback for the design for the wiki, and was involved with testing and developing of the biosensor project. I was the teams travel agent, and booked tickets for our trips to Stockholm, Paris and most importantly Boston.

Kristoffer Bach Falkenberg, MSc. Biotechnology. 3rd semester

What is your motivation for joining the iGEM team?
I’m deeply fascinated with synthetic biology, and the problems the technology can solve today and will be able to solve in the future. The fact that we have come to a point in time where programming life is a relatively trivial task is fantastic, and I want to be a part of the development of this field. Also I like the smell of yeast!

What did you work on during the project?
Besides being the student leader and a part the administrative group, I designed, cloned and tested our pSB1A8YL plasmid. Furthermore, I did a fair amount of cloning and characterization of the hrGFP and proinsulin constructs, and helped supervise the high schoolers in the lab.

Vasileios Rantos, MSc. Bioinformatics and Systems Biology. 3rd semester

What is your motivation for joining the iGEM team?
A preview of future biological applications is an offer that I can not refuse, this is how I see iGEM. So, having the opportunity to be part of a proof-of-concept procedure will help to achieve my long-term goals for a major contribution in the Biological discipline and the solutions it can provide in our everyday lives.

What did you work on during the project?
I helped arrangemenging of fun events and thus promoting team bonding and collaborative spirit. I developed our codon optimization algrithm from script to GUI with intention to help wet lab people optimize their sequences.

Benjamin Schwetz, MSc. Biotechnology. 3rd semester

What is your motivation for joining the iGEM team?
To promote and develop concepts of open technology within synthetic biology and to win a gold medal, of course.

What did you work on during the project?
I helped handeling the economy of the group. I was also responsible for our twitter profile, and took a lot of the photos you see on our wiki. I was in charge of producing our microfermentation platform, and spend countless hours 3D printing and laser cutting.

Camilla Krogsgaard, Msc. Biotechnology. 3rd semester

What is your motivation for joining the iGEM team?
iGEM is awesome and such a great learning opportunity - and hey, who wouldn’t want to go on a trip to Boston?!

What did you work on during the project?
I was a big part of our fundraising efforts, and helped secure financial back-up for the project. I also managed the money after they were secured. I was also a big part of our outreach efforts, planning the BioBrick tutorial, interview with industry and supervising our high-schoolers. Lastly, I spend countless hours in the lab implementing the CRISPR/Cas9 system and improving the crtI and crtE BioBricks.
Sidsel Ettrup Clemmensen, MSc. Biotechnology. 3rd semester

What is your motivation for joining the iGEM team?
To save the planet and mankind! Or at least to become a part of the synthetic biology community and help develop technologies to solve some of the problems that our and the generations to come are facing.

What did you work on during the project?
I was involved in planning events, dinners and activities for the team to help get to know each other and promote team spirit and teamwork. I helped promote our project to the general public, plan and execute the BioBrick tutorial, being in contact with industry and mentoring high school students in the lab. Finally, I worked the entire summer in the lab on different approaches for testing our Y. lipolytica expression system.
Nicolai Kofod-Jensen, BSc. Environmental engineering. 3rd semester

What is your motivation for joining the iGEM team?
It is my dream to combine Biotechnological and Environmental Engineering disciplines to combat pollution in water and soil, potentially using synthetic biology to create cells capable of biodegradation of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). As such, this feels like a logical start.

What did you work on during the project?
Through my role in the adminstrative group, I helped organize the team and our weekly meetings. As the teams only Environmental engineering students, I was naturally involved in the environmental aspect of our project and provided insight into waste management in Denmark and Europe.
Sigrid Kristensen, High school senior (3rd year) at Bagsværd Kostskole og Gymnasium

What is your motivation for joining the IGEM team?
I'm thrilled to experience being a part of a long-term research project, as this will be my first and hopefully not my last. I hope it will be an educational experience as well as an opportunity to meet new people and learn more about my personal interests within science.

What did you work on during the project?
I assisted during the screening experiments, and also helped Line cloning the Interlab constructs. For the wiki I drafted an overview of the substrates we screened.
Rasmus Hildebrandt, High school junior (2nd year) at H.C. Ørsted Gymnasiet Lyngby

What is your motivation for joining the iGEM team?
I joined the IGEM team because i have a deep passion for Chemistry and biology. I believe it to be an opportunity to gain new knowledge and acquire new skills which I can use later I my education.

What did you work on during the project?
I helped Kristoffer clone our yellow colored E. coli strain. I also gave speeches to other High school students about iGEM at several occasions.
Tobias Bertram Petersen, High school senior (3rd year) at Borupgaard Gymnasium

What is your motivation for joining the iGEM team?
Do you know any 19 year old high school student who wouldn't want to spend their vacation working with synthetic biology among competent people?
- No? I thought so too.

What did you work on during the project?
I assisted the lab team performing several transformations, purification etc. I also helped with the inital clonings of the Interlab project. I wrote the Interlab page on the wiki.

Supervisor

Christopher Workman, Associate Professor, DTU Bioengineering

What is your motivation for joining the iGEM team?
I am a complete believer in the importance of Synthetic Biology as an enabling set of technologies that will transform the way we manufacture drugs, food, fuel and many other important commodities in a more sustainable future society.
What did you work on during the project?
My role was most often moral support and encouragement. There are so many challenges when going into the lab and experiencing repeated failures. This can be very trying on the patience and it is important to keep the spirits up in order to persevere.

Supervisor

Christopher Workman
Associate Professor
DTU Bioengineering
+45 45 25 27 00

iGEM Gold medal

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