Team:TU Eindhoven/Practices

Policy & Practices

Policy and Practices plays a central role within the iGEM competition. In the Policy and Practices aspect of our project, we considered what impact COMBs could have on the world. Therefore, we have identified three possible application scenarios. For each of our scenarios, we have reached out to stakeholders to find out which bars there are within the application scenarios and how our COMBs could play a role in clearing these bars. Rather than just identifying the challenges we should still overcome, we have set first steps by calling policy officers' attention to the problems at hand.
Policy and Practices is also about outreach and inclusion. Therefore, we have not only talked to policy officers and stakeholders, but also to students and lay people. We showed them the amazing promise of synthetic biology as well as the risks associated with synthetic biology, but also made an effort to involve them in a discussion on SynBio. An overview of our Policy & Practices activities is shown below:

Application Scenarios

COMBs are inherently modular and the use of aptamers allows for the detection of a virtually all disease markers. To give an overview of the possibilities our COMBs offer, we sketch three application scenarios. The first application scenario concerns the zoonosis Q Fever, of which a large outbreak was reported in the Netherlands in 2007. The second application concerns the use of COMBs within the gastrointestinal tract. The third application scenario is aimed at countering pesticide overuse. Read more on our application scenarios here:


To identify which challenges are yet to be overcome within the application scenarios we envisioned, we have reached out to many stakeholders. These stakeholders include scientists, policymakers, doctors, journalists and professors. Many of the problems we sketch in each of the application scenarios are the fruits of these talks. Moreover, the particular implementation of our device within each of the application scenarios stems from talks with these stalkholders. A short overview of the conversations we had with these stakeholders is shown here:

SynBio convention

The National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) and the Rathenau Institute organized a convention on synthetic biology for representatives from the government, scientific institutions, enterprise & NGO's. Titled "Industrial Biotechnology: exclusive supplier for biobased products", the convention was aimed at envisioning the impact and future role of synthetic biology. During this convention, we pitched our COMBs to show the attendees which great promises synthetic biology hold. We also sounded the alarm to report that intellectual property rights have limited development of new aptamers.


At the start of the summer, we reached out to future students to inform them about synthetic biology and the iGEM competition. Near the end of the summer, we also hosted an open convention at the TU Eindhoven where we were joined by all sorts of people unfamiliar with synthetic biology. Visitors included optometrists, teachers, physiotherapists and civil servants. During these conventions, we shortly pitched our project and some case studies based on which we held ethical discussions with the attendees. For more information, check here:


We contacted Bureau GGO, the institution responsible for the use of GMOs within the Netherlands, to obtain the regulations to which future use of our COMBs will be subject. To make the notion of COMBs more tangible, we presented our application scenarios to Bureau GGO and inquired about applicable regulations. Not only did we learn about regulations through Bureau GGO, but we also managed to establish contact between Bureau GGO with the Centre of Health Protection.