Team:KU Leuven/Notebook/History


iGEM Competition

iGEM began in January of the year 2003 with a month-long course at MIT during the Independent Activities Period (IAP). Students designed biological systems to make cells blink. The course grew into a summer competition with 5 teams in 2004, 13 teams in 2005 - the first year that the competition spread internationally - 32 teams in 2006, 54 teams in 2007, 84 teams in 2008, 112 teams in 2009, 130 teams in 2010, and 165 teams in 2011. Designs range from a rainbow of pigmented bacteria, to banana and wintergreen smelling bacteria, arsenic biosensors, Bactoblood, buoyant bacteria, etc.

October 2014

The search for a new KU Leuven team has started. Ex-iGEM’mers introduced the iGEM competition showing a movie in auditoria, spreading flyers and posters.

November 2014

The ex-iGEM’mers and advisers organised information sessions on the 4th, 5th, 13th and 20th of November at different faculties. Candidates could apply until the 23rd of November by sending their CVs and motivation letters.

December 2014

The interviews took place on the 10th and 11th of December and the ‘lucky 13’ team was formed. The first get-to-know-each-other meeting was organized on the 19th of December.

January 2015

‘Exams, Exams, Exams’. January was a quiet month for iGEM but we had a lovely team and a crazy summer to look forward to.

February 2015

Unleashing the bundled enthusiasm during our first brainstorm session on the 11th of February generated seventeen primary ideas for an unforgettable project. Eventually, we chose eight topics for further investigation.

March 2015

Researching and discussing the eight chosen ideas enabled us to select three top notch projects. After a deeper insight and with the hints from the advisers in our heads, the final topic was chosen. On the 31st of March, all our excitement converged into that one idea: Pattern Formation.

April 2015

On the 21st of April, we shared our topic with the advisers. We also grouped into 11 sub-teams ranging from "Wet lab" and "Modelling" to "Design, photos and arts".

May 2015

The ’Opening Event’ took place on the 20th of May. Here, we officially introduced ourselves and our topic to the broad public, advisers, press, and potential sponsors.

June 2015

In June, the second exam period required our full attention. Nevertheless, some team members with a fewer exams already explored literature and started looking for sponsors.

July 2015

In July, the 'real' work began and the whole team reviewed literature. We theoretically constructed the plasmids and searched quantification methods for specific proteins. The wet lab team started generating double knock-out strains while the first mathematical models were made in the dry lab. By developing the wiki and using social media, we kept everybody updated about our latest progress. The sponsor team prepared a folder and a brochure about iGEM and our project. The education and outreach team started planning possible collaborations with other teams. On the 21st of July, we met the iGEM-team from Toulouse to exchange information. Also, practical arrangements for the stay during the Giant Jamboree were made.

August 2015 (part 1)

In August, the double knock-out mutants were verified. While we waited for the gBlocks, we started the InterLab Measurement Study and finished the Lab Safety form. In the second part of August, we started the assembly of the plasmids and BioBricks. Starting from literature, we composed and optimized our own protocols for leucine and AHL detection.

August 2015 (part2)

Also in August, we established collaboration with the Toulouse, York, Marseille and Delft iGEM teams. Team representatives presented our project during the meet-up in Bordeaux. We planned the symposium in September and searched key-note speakers and panel members for the ethical debate. Besides this, customized bacteria stickers were designed for use in schools. Additionally, to have a view on the perception on synthetic biology of the broad public in Belgium, we conducted a survey. This month, we very actively searched more financial support from sponsors.

September 2015

We continued the assembly of the plasmids and BioBricks. On the 7th of September, we organised a symposium where we invited, among others, neighboring iGEM teams. On the 10th and 11th of September we visited schools to teach children biochemistry using colorful sticker game. We also designed the educative "Strains" card game, hoodies, T-shirts and posters, and prepared the presentation for the Giant Jamboree. The whole team contributed to editing the wiki pages before the wiki freeze on the 18th of September. Adding an extra touch to the wiki, we constructed a wiki game. And finally, between the 24th and the 28th of September, we are taking part in the Giant Jamboree!

'If you want something you've never had, then you have to do what you have never done' - Thomas Jefferson


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