Team:KU Leuven/Future/Future collaboration

Future Collaboration with TU Delft

The TU Delft IGEM 2015 team aims to offer a reproducible and automated way of forming bacterial biofilms with their 3D Micro(be) Printer. They also want to obtain a cheap and customizable method of creating biofilms for testing purposes. Therefore they engineered bacteria that can be linked to each other through nanowires generating a well-defined biofilm structure.

The similarity between our projects is the formation of a certain structure with bacteria. It is particularly interesting how bacteria can be engineered to form a pattern on their own in a controllable way. If our strains are deposited by the TU Delft Printer, a pattern in three dimensions can be formed.

A wide range of applications could result out of this collaboration, for example artificial bone formation. Recently, people are using a 3D printed implant made of titanium for hip transplantations. Here, the patient’s CT scan is used to design an exact replica of the femoral head. Our project could optimize this design by using bacteria who could form and precipitate calcium. In this way a porous structure similar to bones can be formed. The advantages will be that this could improve “goodness of fit” resulting in less wear effects which makes the risk of having a second hip surgery smaller. If a part of the pattern is formed spontaneously by engineered bacteria, the material costs will be lower and an even more refined structure can be formed.

The TU Delft's 3D Micro(be) Printer could also support the development of other possible applications of our project, e.g. the production of miniature electrical circuits. While being 3D printed, the bacteria deposit conducting materials so that the result is an electrical conducting micro wire.

In our project, cell-cell communication is used to form a certain network. Hereby our cell-cell communication could form an alternative or addition of the formation of specific biofilms with nanowires by the TU Delft team. For example, it could be possible that our cells B are adapted to produce nanowires in a predicted pattern.

So, after comparing our projects, we can conclude that a future collaboration could be beneficial for the both of us, leading to the development of new and more advanced innovations. This proves the need of fundamental research in combination with practical engineering.


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