Cooperation & Celebration

During the course of our project, we had the pleasure to meet and collaborate with a great number of passionate and creative partners inside and outside of the iGEM community. On the one hand, we will elaborate all active collaborations with iGEM teams and companies. On the other hand, we will name all iGEM teams we simply visited for some scientific exchange and having fun together. In short, this is the page of Cooperation & Celebration!

Click on the tiles below to navigate through our Collaborations:


Cooperation within iGEM

Future iGEM Team of the "Westfälische Hochschule"

Quite at the start of our project, we were contacted by a group of students and their professor from the college from Recklinghausen. They are considering to participate in iGEM 2016 and had a lot of questions on how to build up an iGEM Team and manage an iGEM project. We were glad to welcome them in Aachen and answer all of their questions regarding BioBricks, judging and project organization. We hope that they will become part of iGEM next year and wish them all the best!

The students from Recklinghausen were accompanied by a supporting and potential future instructor Dr. Frank Eiden. Later that year Dr. Eiden was attending the same SynBio Symposium as our team. We took the chance to get some feedback on our project and won him over for an interview on Community Labs. We also met him at the Maker Faire and had an interessting discussion about synthetic biology and our prototype.


HS Slovenia - Biosafety

In cooperation with the highschool-team from Slovenia, we have assessed the contamination level of different surfaces in the lab. A detailed description of these experiments is located on the safety page.


University of Oslo - MDH Assays

When the project descriptions came online it became apparent that team UiOslo and we were working with a very similar methanol dehydrogenase. After some initial Skype calls where we discussed our projects, we started to collaborate on Mdh activity assays. Team Oslo did not have access to a microplate reader, but luckily we were able to find the optimal conditions for doing the Nash-Assay for formaldehyde detection. In addition to that, they built upon the methane sensor that we developed previously.


TU Darmstadt - Exploring the German Community Lab Scene

At the 12th of June, the iGEM Team Darmstadt came to visit us. Quite soon it became apparent that they seem to be in tune with us. As a consequence, collaborations on several levels arose. Some weeks ago, we had offered them to use the first version of our lab organization software tubefront. The feedback that we got from team Darmstadt helped us to understand how we could improve our software.

Beyond only presenting and discussing ours as well as their project, the members of the iGEM Team Darmstadt stayed the night within the scope of their Labsurfing journey. For the second day, we invited them to have a deeper discussion about the growing Community Lab scene in Germany. Together, we had a first evaluation of the general pros and cons of community labs. The elaborated protocol of our discussion is shown here. Since both teams were very interested in the respective development, we agreed to stay in contact throughout the year and to have a final joint conclusion.

Click on the tiles below to navigate through our Collaborations with the iGEM Team Darmstadt:



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Visiting the iGEM Team Bielefeld

On the 5th of June, we visited the iGEM Team Bielefeld. While having coffee and cake, each team presented their project followed by a little discussion and receiving feedback. We were fortunate to get valuable ideas concerning using our pumps in microfluidics. As a consequence, we adjusted the design of our devices and customized the control program software to support this field of application.

Some weeks later, we could return the favor: Team Bielefeld was searching for different sources of water to test their genetically engineered machine. Therefore, we took two samples, one from a pont in a parc of our city and an additional sample from the famous warm sulfurous terrestrial spring, which was already the favourite place of Charlemagne the founder of Aachen.


Survey and tubefront Feedback from Team Heidelberg

In July, Michael visited team Heidelberg and introduced them to the prototype of tubefront. At that point we were preparing a survey on laboratory organization and the feedback by team Heidelberg helped a lot to improve the questions of the survey. On their collaborations page they also wrote a nice review of that early version of tubefront.

Cooperation with industry

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Interview with Sunfire CTO Christian von Olshausen


The sunfire company was one of the reasons to go for our project. We first met them at the research center in Jülich, where they convinced us of their efficient technical conversion of CO2 and water to methanol and other fuels. With such an efficient area independent way to get a sustainable, high energy chemical, it was a natural decision to find a way to integrate it into the bioeconomy.





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Visiting Cargill in Krefeld


Early in the project we visited a production plant of Cargill. They process around 2.000 tonnes of maize each day. Their main products are starch, sugar and a prestep of vitamin C. We got an excellent impression of the current starch industry in europe and globally, including resources, prices, products and customers. Though they were interested in our project, they did not want to sponsor us because of the difficult reputation of genetic engineering especially in the food industry. However, they helped us with all our questions regarding the starch industry throughout the project.


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MedLife summer event


Located in Aachen, there is a Life Sciences network called MedLife. Resulting from the fusion of a biotechnological and a biomedical network, the represent several members from the industry and universal research. Together with several partners they especially support startups but also global players like Bayer or Philips. We started to collaborate with them to get contact to possible sponsors, but soon recognized another immense potential. With their support, we could not only find new applications for our product, but we also found a great way to connect community labs with other partners in life sciences. They even invited us to their summer event, where we met many interesting people and associates for the future.


Stora Enzo

We got into contact with the paper industry through the MedLife network. As one of the main customers for starch in the industry, they were especially interested in our process. We were visited by two employees of Stora Enso, Heiner Grussenmeyer (chemical process engineering) and Kathrin Berger (paper manufactoring). We discussed the properties of paper starch and possible collaborations. They offered us to test our produced glycogen if it is suitable for the paper industry.


Marburg - Meet up

We followed the invitation of the iGEM Team Marburg and went for their Meet up with six students of our team. During the weekend we had a lot of fun meeting the other iGEM Teams, racing in canoes and enjoying a great barbecue and music. Of course we also talked a lot about the project of each team and tried to support other teams as good as possible. Many collaborations were turned up during the Meet up. One of them was the collaboration with Team Göttingen.

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Arriving in Marburg
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Canoe race in Marburg


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Visiting iGEM Amsterdam

iGEM Team Amsterdam

Since the iGEM Team Amsterdam and we are tackling the same problem, we decided to visit them and have a look at their solution. During the few hours we spent with them, we got to know a very likeable team that did a great job in working out their solution.



Team Mexico

In August, Roger Rubio from this year's TecCEM Collegiate Team Mexico City visited us in our lab. We talked a lot about our projects and showed him how we organize our labwork in tubefront. Furthermore, we discussed the public perception of synthetic biology in Germany and Mexico and saw many similarities. Amazed about how iGEM brings people from totally different places together, we finished our gathering with a dinner in town.

Celebrating the Success of the iGEM Team Sumbawagen 2014

Follow up of last year's collaboration between Aachen and Sumbawagen

During the 2014 Giant Jamboree it came to our attention that iGEM Team Sumbawagen was in need of a fluorescence detector to finalize their project. Part of our project in 2014 was the development of a low budget Do-It-Yourself device for measurement of optical density (OD) as well as fluorescence, the OD/F device, which would have perfectly matched their needs.

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Team Aachen and Team Sumbawagen at last year´s Giant Jamboree
Source: Team Sumbawagen - Mochammad Isro Alfajri


Thus a collaboration was established between both teams to ship one of the OD/F devices to team Sumbawagen´s University in Indonesia. This year's iGEM Team Aachen 2015 continued this collaboration by assembling an OD/F device, calibrating it and finally shipping the device to team Sumbawagen.

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Some cuvettes and a USB power supply were included in the bundle
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Further packaging of the OD/F device was necessary to guarantee safe transport
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Packaging resulted in a large box compared to the size of the device