iGEM Toulouse 2015


The iGEM competition is an enriching experience in our student life, and thanks to this competition we gained a lot of important skills. As we needed to find sponsors we became experts in phone harassment. We also needed to communicate about our project and learned to make visiting cards, newsletters. We also became experts at explaining our project and synthetic biology to the general public. Moreover we had to get in touch with different people such as administrators, scientists, beekeepers, specialists, an ethical expert and other iGEM teams and learned a lot through these interactions.

In this part, we want to thank all the persons who contributed to our project by sharing their experience, their knowledge, and their interest.

General support

Our thanks to:

M. Brice Enjalbert for leading the project, for his advice and his availability.

All our advisors who helped us develop our ideas during the brainstorming, and volunteered their knowledge of synthetic biology, microbiology...

The LISBP that gave us full access to the lab and the material we needed, allowing us to work under very good conditions all through the summer.

Our sponsors, for the financial support that enabled us to give reality to our project.

M. Thierry Dufresne (Observatoire Français d’Apidologie), and M. Yves Leconte (INRA Avignon) for all their references in the field of beekeeping, bees and varroas.

M. Vincent Grégoire-Delory, Mrs Anne Cambon-Thomsen and Simon Desbois who were with us throughout our ethical thinking process and thus helped us build the foundations of our project.

A special thank to Pierrick Montagne, Gilles Truan and Théo Depresle for their beautiful pictures, your skill in capturing moments are amazing.

Project support

To implement our project, we needed to understand the functioning of a beehive and the bees behaviour. Christian Boucher is a researcher from a famous French lab and has some beehives. He agreed to meet us and was able to inform us about bees and to advise us on the molecular biology part of our project. He was a helpful link between bees and biology, and we thank him for his availability.

We owe M. Gilles Truan our deepest gratitude for his availability, and his unreserved support on synthetic biology and genetic regulation.

To analyse the supernatant of our cultures (and particularly to try to detect our compounds of interest), we used the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) of the Metatoul platform. We would like to thank them warmly for making this state-of-the-art technology available to us.
Also thanks to Mrs Lindsay Peyriga, who showed our team members how to correctly prepare NMR samples, how to run acquisitions and helped them with the interpretation of the results.

Attract support

We based part of our strategy on the demonstration made in the US8647615 patent that butyric acid has an attractant power towards varroas. We thus decided to design the butyrate production pathway for our attraction module, and we acknowledge that this disables us from commercializing our project.

To design the butyrate production pathway, we met with M. Philippe Soucaille, teacher at the engineering school INSA and researcher who shared his experience in metabolic engineering.

Special thanks to Mrs Angélique Vétillard and her PhD student Vincent Piou from the laboratory Vacbio EA 4357 linked to the University Jean François Champollion for their warm welcome in their lab to experiment varroa attraction and eradication.

M. Patrick Chekroun for the realization of the T-tube test we designed to experiment varroa attraction at the Vacbio laboratory.

Eradicate support

To design the eradication module of our genetic system, we met with Mrs Nathalie Gorret who gave us interesting information about pflA and pflB genes. Moreover, we wanted our bacteria to survive during two weeks but did not know how to proceed. Mrs Gorret was the one who first talked to us about the BioSilta kit.

Regulation support

Our regulation module contains Cph8 and PCB receptors. We received the Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) from Clark Lagarias and following the indications of Christopher Voigt laboratory, we received the strain containing those receptors from Dr Nico Claasens (Wageningen University). Thank you very much for allowing us to develop our module.

Optimization support

Thank you to Mrs Stéphanie Heux for her personal investment in our project: she provided her bacterial growth and modeling expertise to Laetitia and Mélany. We contacted a specialized company called BioSilta that designs growth systems, and used their kit “EnPresso B Defined Nitrogen-free” in order to optimize the growth and production of our bacteria in our system. Special thanks to Antje Neubauer who took the time to skype with us to advise us.

Trap support

The creation of our trap would not have been possible without:

Benoît Pons who designed the trap.

M. Valentin Girin who created the trap on Catia software.

M. Philippe Seitier from Mechanical Department of INSA who printed our trap with a 3D printer.

The technician who created a little hive entrance to show the trap in its natural environment.

Our trap contains a TPX bag that prevents bacteria from going out. This special plastic was given by Mitsui Chemicals and the idea came from the project of Groenigen iGEM team in 2012.

Fundraising help

Our thanks to Mrs Hélène Baron, representative of Midi-Pyrénées region in Brussels, and M. Claudes Maranges, who helped us by giving us new lines of search for sponsoring.

Lab support

We would like to address our special thanks to all the researchers who gave us crucial strains and plasmids for our ApiColi project. All the strains were Escherichia coli strains:

  • Gilles Truan (LISBP-EAD11): DH5 alpha
  • Stéphanie Heux (LISBP-EAD6): BW25113, MG1663, and two strains with an acetate deletion : Delta pta and Delta ackA (keio strain)
  • Kaymeuang Cam (UPS/CNRS UMR5089): MG1655 and MC1661
  • Mathieu Fournié (LISBP- Unit EAD11): K823022

We thank Marie Bouvier and Carine Pagès from the “Laboratoire de Microbiologie et Génétique Moléculaires” who kindly gave us plasmids, which unfortunately we did not use due to lack of time.

Mrs Florence Bordes helped us with her high spirits and technical advice during all the project.
M. Thomas Lautier helped and gave us advice during the brainstorming and then particularly for two weeks when all the lab was closed because of holidays.
Mrs Fayza Daboussi, who can be counted on during lab holidays to help and motivate us.
M. Yves Dutruy and Mrs Sylvie Cancel, the lab technicians, who gave us material and advice.

Project advisors

Brice Enjalbert, our main advisor. He supervised the project from February to September. Thanks for giving us the management project tricks.

Gilles Truan, our scientific project manager. He brought to the team his skills and background about the competition and synthetic biology. Thank you for your support and help.

Florence Bordes, our technical molecular biology support.

Mathilde Beraud is the youngest of the advisors, and she dedicated her experience, her calm and her communication skills to the project, in order to defend it or search for financial support. She took part in the optimization of experiments, and kept an eye on the project management. She contributed to our magnificent poster which you will be able to see on our stand in Boston. To sum up, she is like a mother to our group.

Kaymeuang Cam, Thomas Lautier, Stéphanie Heux, Marie-Line Daveran-Mingot, Fayza Daboussi, Eliane Meilhoc, Mathieu Fournié, César Aceves, …

Wiki support

Our friends and teammates Mélany Tanchon and Louise Gody are studying bioinformatics at the University Paul Sabatier of Toulouse, and they were able to create and to upload all the wiki. We thank them for their heavy and time-consuming work.

Thanks to OS Templates.

Presentation coaching

During one week, we worked very hard on our presentation. Every morning, our speakers gave a practice presentation in front of our advisors and we would like to address special thanks to Brice Enjalbert, Gilles Truan, Stéphanie Heux, Florence Bordes, Eliane Meilhoc, César Aceves, Thomas Lautier, Mathilde Béraud, and Kaymeuang Cam.

Human Practices support

Mrs Joy Cozar (INSA), Estelle Brucale (INSA), Virginie Fernandez (UPS) who helped us on communication aspects, and graciously contributed goodies for the events in which we took part.

A lot of different local newspapers were interested in ApiColi. In this part, we would like to thank all the journalists that came to meet us:

  • Axelle Szczygiel for her article in the newspaper Métronews
  • Hélène Ménal for her article in the newspaper 20 Minutes
  • Léa Maarek for her article in the newspaper La Dépêche
  • Philippe Passebon and Juliette Raynal for their article in the magazine Industrie et Technologie
  • Bruno Declairieux for his article in the magazine Capital.

Mrs Maryline Desjours gave us the opportunity to defend our project in ESI Brussels.

M. Bernard Valéro, the French ambassador in Belgium took the time to listen to us explaining our project during Exposciences International.

A big thank you to all the iGEM teams we collaborated with: KU Leuven, Vilnius, Eindhoven, Ankara, Amoy, Paris Saclay, CGU. Our thanks to Bordeaux iGEM Team invited us to the iGEM meetup France, which enabled us to discover other projects, and have other teams vision of our own. We also had the opportunity of giving a presentation at Capsciences, their partner, in front of an audience composed of the other teams and members of their crew.

Bros communication: They kindly created the design of our visiting cards and the design of the poster we presented at Exposciences International in Brussels.

Thanks and acknowledgements to all the other people who dedicated some time in order to make our iGEM experience a great one

We thank everyone who has contributed in some way to the project, thanks for the help and encouragement that made our project an unforgettable adventure.

Finally, we would like to acknowledge all of our team members: Laetitia Chaumont, Anthony David Mélissa David, Thomas Etcheberry, Louise Gody, Alexandre Le Scornet, Benoît Pons, Marine Pons, Mélany Tanchon, and Blandine Trouche. We worked hard on our wonderful project during all summer and we successfully created a very good atmosphere!

Laetitia Chaumont

Laetitia is the strong link of the team. She first came up with the wonderful idea of this project because her mother experiences troubles with varroas. She is able to take on impressive quantities of work and stay effective. Thanks to her, we studied bacterial growth, NMR analysis, in silico modeling, cloning… everything! Moreover, she is one of the main members responsible for the ethics part of the project, which gives it a real asset.

Anthony David

Anthony is the pastry chef of the team. Besides his cooking skills, he designed all the biobricks sequences: gene optimization, and Serial Cloner software were his friends for many days. During our wet lab period, when we needed any help, he was always ready to assist. He created the wonderful PowerPoint presentation you will see in Boston… so do not hesitate to come take a look at our presentation, because it’s a real treat for the eye!

Mélissa David

Mélissa played a big part in making this project possible: she is often glued to her laptop or phone to contact sponsors or realize quotes about the goodies we will have in our stand. She is responsible for all the events we took and will take part in, and she represented us at International ExpoSciences. Finally, she teamed up with Alexandre on the parts submission, helping him with the PCR.

Thomas Etcheberry

Thomas is our humoristic koala, responsible for the good mood in the team. He has some ability with the English language, that’s why he took care of the international communication. He found great prices for the flight and a place to live in Boston. In the wet lab, he was very busy but he was particularly dedicated to perform butyrate cloning and study. Then, he was a strong support for Wiki coding when our IT expert was sick or absent !

Louise Gody

Louise, our artist and wiki master… Without her, we could never have had this amazing logo, nor all these illustrations that you can see on our wiki, poster and presentation. With her massive work, she made the science more attractive and above all unique. In the wiki, she is responsible for the architecture, design, and simplicity. Even if she spends a lot of time on her computer, she does not forget the experiments.

Alexandre Le Scornet

Alexandre is the coffee addict: he is the first to arrive in the morning, to turn on the Biological Safety Cabinet and… the coffee-maker. He can do all kinds of stuff, either in the wet lab or on his laptop. He realized a collaboration with the Eindhoven team, but his biggest work was with our biobricks. Indeed, he is the part submission responsible, and took care of the biobricks validity. He filled the register and sent all the parts to iGEM. If you want to see him, he will present our project during the Giant Jamboree.

Benoît Pons

Benoît is the youngest of the team, and is partner in crime with Thomas on the bad jokes. He is a jack of all trades in the lab: autoclave, mediums, cloning, culture… they hold no secrets to him. Besides his hyperactivity, he took care of all the communication, being the link between the press and us. Moreover he is a great speaker, and will present our project in Boston with Alexandre and Blandine.

Marine Pons

Marine is our mister freeze addict. She is the iGEM association president, but mostly a great scientist with strong knowledge in bacterial genetics: she is the leader for the wet lab, managing all the experiments to do. She has huge responsibilities and leads this project with skill. She had the idea to use a circadian regulation and designed all the genetic regulation of ApiColi.

Mélany Tanchon

Melany is our bioinformatics specialist, author of all the modeling done in this project. Without this real asset, we could not compare experimental results with theory, and have an idea of its feasibility. She developed a modeling collaboration with Leuven team, but also created our wiki with Louise. Finally she teamed up with Thomas to clone on the butyrate pathway.

Blandine Trouche

Blandine is an essential member of the team because of her role: indeed, she is the iGEM treasurer and manages our finances which are limited. She gave her help where it was needed in the experiments, she also realized a collaboration with Ankara team and was our very own French/English translator and reviewer. She represented us during the meetup France in Bordeaux, and will continue to defend the project in Boston, presenting it alongside Alexandre and Benoît.