Team:KU Leuven/Secret

Welcome to our interactive wikimap

This game was designed to let you enjoy our progress during the iGEM competition 2015. By visiting the different chambers you will get a look at all our achievements and results. We hope you enjoy this quick trip around our wiki. You can navigate in this game by using the arrow keys.
ps: can you find the garden?

The Team

This year, our team consists of 13 students who have dedicated their summer to work on the iGEM project. The numerous late night meetings organised were the perfect opportunity to create an optimal atmosphere to discuss the possible iGEM projects and to boost the team spirit. The team consist of students from 5 different faculties with different backgrounds, perspectives, nationalities and languages. The diversity of the team gives us the strength and widens our horizons. We are all bound by our enthusiasm for science and research. Additionally, we are supported by previous iGEM’mers and employees from different levels of the KU Leuven University. The previous KU Leuven teams have set high standards to benchmark ourselves against. We will do our best to carry on this trend in the 2015 iGEM competition!
Go to our team page

Our Advisors

We would like to extend our gratitude to our mentors, Katarzyna Malczewska(Kasia- as we fondly call her) and Prof. Johan Robben. From the very beginning Prof. Johan has always been ready to help solve complex issues, share his scientific expertise or direct us to the right person. We could have never imagined someone better than Kasia to be our supervisor. Be it a scientific question or a silly doubt she is always ready for all our endeavours. We would fail in our duty if we forget to mention our advisors who have helped during various stages of our project, with special mentions to Oscar Torres, for helping with the gene knock outs, Iris Govaerts for helping us find solutions in the lab, Yves Peeters for sharing his knowledge, Veerle De Wever, for her expert advices and all the ex-iGEM’mers for attending our pizza meetings and giving their valuable opinions.
Go to our advisors page

Explore our Lab

We designed a circuit capable of forming patterns in a controlled way. Using a modified and temperature-sensitive lambda repressor (cI), we can trigger formation at desired points in time. This time-dependent controllability, together with the possibility to change many different parameters and output signals, leads to an enormous tunability in the creation of the patterns. Our mechanism will stimulate advancements in a variety of industrial processes like the creation of novel bio-materials. This fundamental project could also speed up medical research projects like tumor formation and tissue regeneration.
Go to our idea page

Future Applications

The knowledge transfer from pure scientific research to the commercial environment is a major challenge to be tackle for both academia and industry. By analyzing the future potential of our project, we explore how our scientific contribution can be useful for different industries. The focus lies mainly on the development of artificial bone implants, where the economic rationale for further investments was analyzed combined with a brief description of the possible barriers in the future. Other applications for the biomaterial and medical industry as well as others are also described. On top of that we explain how a future collaboration with the TU Delft iGEM team could be beneficial for our teams.
Go to our future applications page

The Garden Secret

Welcome to our garden,
We spend some time collecting flowers in this garden.
Congratulations, you found the magical door.
Through this Door you can discover our secrets.

The Garden

Welcome to our garden,
We spend some time collecting flowers in this garden.
Can you figure out why?


We introduced to the children in three primary schools (10 to 11 years old) about synthetic biology. A brief introduction created the perfect opportunity to play a custom built game around the DNA codon table. The goal was to teach the children DNA translation and to introduce mutations in a playful manner. During the first part, the children were given the so called "Professor Robben" sequence. Using the DNA codon table the children translated the DNA, colored wooden blocks symbolizing the amino acids had to be arranged into the correct protein sequence. The blocks were made in the KU Leuven's fab-lab and painted by us. The children continued playing by mutating the DNA sequence and matching the protein sequence on the sticker table. Every time they were right they earned a customised sticker designed by us as a reward.
Go to our education page


This year the KU Leuven iGEM team decided to share its enthusiasm with the other teams to participate in the Interlab Measurement Study. The aim of this study was to construct specific devices combining a promoter with the GFP and subsequently to measure and to analyse the fluorescence. By carrying out this study we hope we could join the scientists around the world to contribute to the worldwide fluorescence database.
Go to our interlab result page


It is important to record the scientific discoveries and make it available to the public to keep them updated about our findings. But the most challenging job is to make the wiki user friendly and interactive. We tried our best possible to make our wiki simple and easy to understand. Creating an iGEM wiki takes a lot of work from the entire team: creating, writing, proof reading to make sure everything is in the right place and no errors where made. We can only say that we used some fingerspitzengefühle in this wiki.


Can synthetic biology have a positive influence on the environment? Can DNA be patented? What kind of applications are socially acceptable? These are the kind of questions which often characterize a social debate. The social debate about synthetic biology is in a much further stage in the USA than in Europe. On top of that, there are numerous important social organisations and public groups who didn’t formulate a clear opinion about synthetic biology. This implicates that the current debate didn’t evolve in a particular direction which makes it even more interesting to carry out a survey on the current perception of synthetic biology. This survey was conducted among Belgian citizens, older than 18 (focus group) and led to 352 responses. For more information, please check out the outreach page.
Go to our survey page

The power of Models

The fascinating properties of pattern creating bacteria may be translated into the language of mathematics. In this subsection we are investigating the equations behind the behaviour of the genetically modified organisms created in the wetlab. We do so using a layered approach. Colony level modeling employs partial differential equations to describe large cell groups which are treated as a continuum. Internal level models describe the interactions that happen within single cells. Finally the hybrid model merges the two approaches into a final description of our pattern forming cells.
Go to our hybrid model page

Find out our History and Timeline

Creating an iGEM project requires hard work in many fields. Obviously research in literature, simulations executed by the modeling team and practical work in the wet lab are necessary. We also want to pass our knowledge to future generations and iGEM teams. Therefore we developed a wiki, communicated our project in the media and taught primary and highschool students more about our project and synthetic biology in general. Above all, we organized an ethical debate because by discussion you get a deeper insight in different opinions. To realise all this in a structured manner, we need a cooperation between all team members and subteams. We want to keep you up to date by sharing our history and timeline.
Go to our history page


Our work is worth little if our results are not accepted or wanted by the public. Therefore learning about the perception of synthetic biology is crucial. Additionally, to gain the trust of the public a sound ethical foundation as a base for our work is necessary. In our survey we learned, that most people only accept synthetic biology if they feel educated about the subject. Therefore we went to schools to teach students some synthetic biology fundamentals. Finally to boost the impact of our project we collaborated with other teams to make our and their projects better.
Go to our ethics page

The Project

Patterns are fascinating, from the veins of a leaf to the stripes of a zebra. They are everywhere in nature, but why and how they are formed is not entirely understood. The way cells of multicellular organisms interact to generate a specific pattern has triggered our curiosity. We, the KU Leuven 2015 iGEM team, engaged in a project on the regulatory mechanisms of arrangement formation. Our mission is to engineer bacteria able to communicate and influence each other’s behaviour resulting in the assembly of predictable visible patterns.
Go to our main page


On September the 7th, 2015 we organized the KU Leuven iGEM 2015 Symposium on Synthetic Biology, Cell Systems and Ethics in Biochemistry. Hosted guests included 4 neighbouring iGEM teams, academic staff, students, sponsors, and iGEM supporters from 6 different European countries. During this full-day event, the participants had a chance to attend the lectures by home speakers as well as by invited international keynote speakers from both the academia and the industry. The iGEM teams presented their research, and probably the most awaited part the debate on ethics in biochemistry took place in the afternoon. To fulfil all the needs, goodie-bags, drinks, lunch, and dinner were provided to our guests. We hosted almost a hundred guests and received a very positive feedback.
Go to our symposium page