iGEM Handbook

The spirit of iGEM competition is “Get, Give and Share”, while undoubtedly we can get the experience, knowledge or even honor from here, we also need to think about what we can give and what we can share. In order to promote this competition and spread it to the most of high schools and universities in China, we initiate an assistance program centered upon the Handbook , which is tailored to help those who are willing to take part in for a better and comprehensive view about iGEM.

The Handbook mainly contains seven parts, iGEM introduction, team setup guidance, what you can get, excellent works’ exhibition, TJU team introduction, special thanks and feedback. At the very beginning, the overall introduction can help readers get access to basic knowledge of this competition such as the prolonged history, requirements for medals and time schedule. As for team setup guidance, this is very important and useful for new participants since we designed several common strategies for the possible problems while you set up a new iGEM team. Notably, the excellent works’ exhibition is available for everyone no matter you have participated in iGEM before or not. In this section, we summarized whole projects and appended our thinking about this project in particular, which may inspire other teams on their own project.

This Handbook, to our surprise, has spread to several high school teams including SKLBC-GDSYZX, SKLBC-China, Shiyan_SY_China, H4Z-Hangzhou and WLSA_Shanghai as well as several universities. We believe there are a lot more to come. Above all, we helped SKLBC-GDSYZX with their first iGEM team and they consulted and thought highly of our Handbook. Similarly, according to the feedbacks from other schools, our Handbook has achieved a great success. In the future, we are striving to promote the existing version of Handbook and deliver it to even more schools all around the world.

New Team Aid

We always conduct our Human Practice with a mission to create a bridge that connects more Chinese colleges to the Synthetic Biology and the iGEM. So when Zhou, the vice-president of College of Biological Engineering, TUST (Tianjin University of Science and Technology) asked if we could share a little bit of our experience and help them to build an iGEM team, we were super excited that we could get this golden chance to spread the idea of Synthetic Biology to more young Chinese students like us.


This July, we went to TUST (Tianjin University of Science and Technology) and held a lecture with vice-president Zhou, professors and fifty students from their college. We briefly introduced the novel scientific discipline, Synthetic Biology and the iGEM at first. Since they had never get the chance to know iGEM before, we showed the procedure about how to start a new team in detail then. In order to help them have a thorough understanding of the iGEM project, we presented our project in 2012 and 2013 when we both won the top three of Asia Regionals and the gold medal of the Giant Jamboree.
The brand-new concept and the stirring competition struck IGEM fire into the hearts of audiences and we got an enthusiastic Q&A at the end of our meeting. Before leaving, we promised that we would always be ready to help if they have any question when they start their team.

Team-start Guidance

After the lecture, professors and students form TUST still had lots of questions. There is an old Chinese saying: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” We decided to establish an effective and instant guide platform for future benefits. Thus, we provided a 24 hour on/off-line guidance for the past 2 months. With the arranged schedule, with take in charge with the TUST team in turn and solve their problems through Wechat, email and mutual visiting.

TUST Team-Following Intern

Through our 24 hour on/offline guidance, we felt visiting or demonstrating in flesh always had a desired effect. So, why not let the TUST teammate involving in our team’s work?
Two TUST students, Li YE and Tingyue Deng came to our lab at the end of July. They lived and worked together with us for an one-month intern, in which they participated in every parts of our team’s work They brought the experience they gained there back to their school and will start their team next year.

Interns Say

Following are parts of their reflections:

“……I’m so glad to be here to learn the iGEM, like how to start our IGEM, how to come up with ideas, how to do the projects and so on……
the most important, I have a deeply new understanding about Synthetic biology through communication and experiments with TJU IGEM team, I learned how to collect the biobricks or parts to construct the vector and express it in the other strains, to get the appreciate express level for the parts, a model need to be done to optimize the parts like promoter. Moreover, we communicate with them about experiments details, for how to design special promoter for our interesting gene, how long of the overlap is better, which method is the best for a vector to transform into a strain.……”

——Li Ye

“……In this month they introduce to me what is the IGEM, the competition process, award-wining requirement and so on. In the meantime, they answer my question seriously, and teach me with full patience……
When I came back to my university, I will report what I have learned. I will continue to study synthetic biology knowledge. At the same time, I will try my best to build an IGEM team belonging to our school.
In here, I enriched myself every day. Though very tired, but I am satisfied and happy. Not only do I gain the knowledge but also I make a lot of good friends.
Thanks for the IGEMers of Tianjin University. Thank you for your help.……”

——Tingyue Deng

Meet Ups

Univeristät des Saarlandes, Germany

This April,we got a stunning chance to have an international communication right inside our school. A 15-people visiting group from Univeristät des Saarlandes, Germany which include 13 undergraduate students major in Chemistry and biology and 2 professors paid a visit to our School of Chemical Engineering. One of the professor in this group is the alumni of our school. He contacted our team and told us though he was surprise, his German group members indeed pointed in particular that they wanted to have a conversation with our iGEM team. We smiled and explained it was easy to understand because iGEM was also popular in Germany, let alone they were in Chemistry and biology major.
Thus, we had a whole afternoon communication with them. We presented our project in 2012 and 2013 at first. Then we both shared about how to brainstorm new ideas and some fun we met in the lab. Finally, they introduce us about the medical field, which we were not very familiar but was very common in Germany iGEM project.
Although not all of them had been involved in iGEM before, the similar age as well as the common experiences made this conversation a very pleasant one. At the end of their visit, the alumni told us he never thought about before that nowadays student from Germany and China could have such common languages and experiences. And we told him that it is the iGEM that provide student all over the world an international version to “get, give and share” from each other.

iGEM Foundation

On May 24, 2015, Professor Randy Rettberg, chairman of the iGEM Foundation, Associate Professor Meagan Lizarazo, Executive Director Richard Johnson and Professor King L. Chow, chairman of Asia-Pacific iGEM visited our school. With the pleaure that we could communicate directly with the authorities of iGEM, we showed them around our lab in the Frontier Technology Research Institution of Tianjin University and talked about our project with full fervency.
Some details on 2015 iGEM was given to us by Professor Meagan Lizarazo and Professor Richard Johnson, such as some revises on the evaluation standard and some regulations of the final presentation, poster and wiki. Moved by our passion, Professor Randy also encouraged us to participate more in international competitions, so as to gain more traits that would be necessities for us in the future, such as innovation, creativity, leadership and practical ability.

Before leaving, Professor King L. Chow told us there were a great number of Chinese colleges and universities that were eager to participate in the research of synthetic biology but had no idea how to start with it. We said it was already in our human practice plan to help more green-hand school to start their iGEM team and walk into the door of synthetic biology. We had promised TUST (Tianjin University of Science and Technology) to help them start their team and we were looking forward to sharing more experiences to more students in more Chinese colleges and universities.

Lanzhou University

This July, we were so glad that 3 teammates from Lanzhou University visited our lab. We held a meetup session and presented our project to each other. Since both two teams were doing project about MFCs, we had a lot to talk about. We shared our experiences as well as questions. Moreover, since we would be in different tracks, we inspired each other by giving a lot of suggestions. At the end of the meetup session, we reach a consensus that we could keep in touch and help each other in the following days.

Public Concerns

In August, we go "beyond the bench". In order to get some feedback from non-professionals and assessing our project in a more exhaustive view, we went on street, introduce our project to the public and let them express their concerns. Among more than 40 people from all works, we collected more than 100 question relate to safety, policy, environmental impact, etc.
Although we answered these questions briefly on the spot, we admit some of them was we had never considered before. Thanks to these questions which made us see our project in a different view, we generated lots of brand-new aspiration to improve our project as well as assuage public misgivings. Take the safety guard for example, a great number of respondents asked us about the potential dangerous of our battery: Will it explore or leak? Will it cause gene pollution?These inspired us to design the genetic circuit(Click here to for more detail) that works a safety guard.

Here is 14 answers of representative questions:

About Safety

About Clean Power

After Performance Parameter

About Characteristics and Advantages

About Policy

About Market


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