AK Jaeschke (Gabriele Nuebel, Dr. Murat Suenbuel)

At the very beginning of the development of our project the iGEM Team talked to Gabriele Nübel and Dr. Murat Sünbül, both members of the group of professor Jäschke. Professor Jäschke is dean of the faculty for biosciences and his research is focused on RNA research.

We talked about our idea to use aptamers for the detection of small molecules by aptamers. Murat was particularly interested in the software we developed to predict aptamers. He would use it to predict aptamers for his research on aptamers. We learned from the meeting that aptamers are of great interest and that if we are able to establish the software and verify it there will be a whole aptamer community that would be interested in using it.

Dr. Damjana Keastelic

As the Team started to plan and design the rape drug detection system we talked to Dr. Damiana Kastelic from DKFZ who used to teach forensics in Cambridge. She encouraged us to pursue our idea though she suggested to focus on the read out. She told us that for forensics it is extremely important to have an extremely robust assay as it may decide about people’s fate. Furthermore her advice to us was to use may model substances to test our system. She said it would be interesting to see if a food you buy is not polluted with for example antibiotics.

Prof. Dr. M. Mall

Prof. Marcus A. Mall is the head of the pediatric pulmonology and allergology unit of the university medical center in Heidelberg and head of the Heidelberg cystic fibrosis centre (since 2009) and became head of the department of translational pulmonology translational lung research centre (TLRC) in 2012. He studied and got his medical doctor at the University of Freiburg.

Prof. Mall gave us good advice for our cystic fibrosis project. He liked our idea of using ribozymes to medicate cystic fibrosis. He told us about the problems in medicating cystic fibrosis with classical pharmacological approaches. A low efficiency in repairing the deficient RNA would have benefits compared to classical methods. We asked about how much RNA we need to repair to get a therapeutic effect. If 1-3% of repaired RNA a therapeutic effect can be seen and with 5-10% of repaired RNA nearly all symptoms of cystic fibrosis would be gone. We also talked about the application of a future cystic fibrosis medication. The best application would be oral or subcutaneous so that the ribozymes can be taken up in the blood and can cure the complete body. Unfortunately in an oral or subcutaneous application the RNA would be degraded very fast. Another application would be the direct inhalation of the ribozymes in liposomes, which could address the lung cells, but would not help against symptoms in other organs, like the liver. We also talked about testing our ribozymes with an CF lung cell line, in which we could measure the ion flow at the Mall laboratory.