Team Aboa 2021


From the very beginning it was clear to our team that we wanted to benefit from the possibility to collaborate with other iGEM teams. The biggest reason for that was the fact that collaboration and cooperation nearly always lead to considerably better results compared to just working alone. Additionally, collaborating with other teams is a great opportunity to get to know amazing people from all over the world!
An illustrated cyanobacteria character

Collaborations with Other Teams

Team TU Darmstad
Three iGEM teams studied degrading diclofenac and other compounds with different laccases last year. We were interested in the same topic so we decided to contact them. One of the teams was the iGEM team Darmstadt 2020 who gave us valuable knowledge about their project and the laccases in general. For example, they told us why they used certain laccases, which really helped us to make our own choices!
The logo of the team Darmstad 2020
Figure 1. The logo of the iGEM team Darmstadt 2020.
A screenshot from the laccase meeting via Zoom
Figure 2. The laccase meeting via Zoom.
The laccase meeting - Team Chicago 2021, Team TU Kaiserslautern 2021, Team DUT China 2021, Team CPU China 2021, Team TU Kaiserslautern 2020
Another team that has been studying laccases last year was the iGEM team TU Kaiserslautern 2020. We also contacted them and they invited us to participate in the laccase meeting in May, in which they wanted to share their knowledge of laccases to everyone that was interested. In this meeting we also met the iGEM team UChicago for the first time - and so started our wonderful partnership (read more here!)
Team Aalto-Helsinki
There are only two iGEM teams from Finland, we and the team Aalto-Helsinki, so we naturally did some collaboration. We stayed in contact with each other through the year and updated each other on what we had been doing. Additionally, the Aalto-Helsinki team gave us valuable advice on how to make iGEM more well-known and appreciated in our home city, Turku. In that way, they also contributed to our guidebook for future iGEM teams.
In the autumn we also got to know each other better as we visited them and vice versa. In our visit to Helsinki, we had a practicalities workshop where we discussed all the things from fundraising to getting help from people. After that both teams presented their projects and got feedback from others. When Aalto-Helsinki came to Turku, we had workshops in which we discussed the preparation for Judging sessions as well as possibilities to get more Finnish iGEM teams in the future. Additionally, we of course had fun together!
A picture of Aboa and Aalto-Helsinki's team members
Figure 3. Aboa’s and Aalto-Helsinki’s members.
iGEM Phototrops - Overgow the World - Team Marburg and Team Bielefeld-CeBiTec
Part of our project relates to working with cyanobacteria so we decided to become a part of the iGEM Phototrophs -community that was kickstarted by the Marburg and Bielefeld-CeBiTec teams (see community award). The main goal of this collaboration was to support teams working with phototrophic organisms and to exchange ideas. We participated in all four meetups during which experts within the field gave eye-opening talks, troubleshooting sessions took place, teams presented their projects (see presentation award), and interesting topics were discussed. We also helped with organizing the meetups by participating in some organisational meetings and enlisting a cyanobacterial expert to one (see organisational award), and contributed to the phototroph handbook by writing a chapter about transforming cyanobacteria (see handbook award and check out the pdf document here). You can read more about this and the handbook on the Marburg (here) and Bielefeld-CeBiTec (here) teams wikis.
Photothroph logos
Figure 4. The awards that we get by participating in the iGEM Phototrophs community, giving a presentation, organizating meet-ups and contributing to the handbook.
The logo of the Nordic iGEM conference
Figure 5. The logo of the Nordic iGEM conference.
Nordic iGEM Conference - Team Chalmers-Gothenburg
This year’s two-day Nordic iGEM Conference or NiC was held in Gothenburg but we participated in it remotely. The other participating iGEM teams were Chalmers-Gothenburg, Stockholm, SDU-Denmark, Linköping, Aalto-Helsinki and DTU-Biobuilders. In the conference each team presented their projects while the others gave them feedback. In addition, we got to hear interesting lectures from experts and to discuss with other teams, for example, about the iGEM experience and safety issues. At the end of the first day there was also a really nice online dinner with the other teams. Unfortunately, we did not get awarded but it was a great opportunity to hear other teams’ presentations and get to know other people here in Nordic countries! PS. Congratulations to the teams iGEM Linköping and iGEM Stockholm for great achievements!
Translations of Educational Materials - Team Bielefeld-CeBiTec
The Bielefeld CeBiTec 2021 iGEM team contacted us asking whether we would be interested in participating in their education project. They had collected science questions from children that they would be answering in a mini-podcast series along with a pdf document covering all questions and answers (you can check it here). This document was to be translated into many different languages to make it accessible to as many children as possible. We found this to be an excellent idea and were happy to help by providing translations in Finnish and Swedish (Figure 6). This material also became a part of the education section of our project. You can download the pdf file from here!
A picture of logos of the teams that participated in this collaboration activity and the screenshot of the table of contents of the pdf.
Figure 6. Teams that participated in this collaboration activity and the table of contents of the pdf.
Game Nights - Team Stuttgart
As the iGEM is not only about making groundbreaking science, we were also interested in other events that would allow us to meet new people and share ideas. The game nights organized by the Stuttgart team fit well into this, and we ended up having a fun time talking about our projects and challenges in a relaxed setting.
We have also helped other teams by filling out their surveys. Hope our answers have helped you! The teams that we have helped: Athens, GO Paris-Saclay, SUNY Oneonta, TU Kaiserslautern, Uppsala, Thessaly (x2), NJU-China, BOKU-Vienna, NEYCFLS_China, Stanford, Rochester and NYCU-Taipei.

iGEM Challenges

Postcard Project - Team Düsseldorf
We participated in a postcard project that was organized by the iGEM team Düsseldorf 2021. The aim of the project was to design a postcard that relates to the project of the team or synthetic biology in general. On the back of the card was a short description of the project. When the iGEM team Düsseldorf received all the postcards, they sent them around the world to all the teams that participated in this challenge. The team of Düsseldorf arranges this postcard project annually and we thought that it was wonderful to take part in a tradition like this! In Figure 7, you can see the postcard we designed.
The picture of a postcard we designed. On the front page, there is a picture of E. coli, cyanobacteria and a tube which reflects a pain relieving gel. On the back of the card, there is a short description of our project.
Figure 7. The postcard we designed as a part of the team Düsseldorf’s postcard project.
Postcards from all over the world
Figure 8. Some of the postcards that different iGEM teams designed
A picture collage about the most famous monuments in Turku.
Figure 9. Pictures of the most famous monuments in Turku
iGEM Monument Challenge
We also took part in a monument challenge by the iGEM team GO Paris-Saclay, in which we were taking photos about the most famous monuments of our hometown Turku. The aim of this challenge was to show the multicultural side of the iGEM and to see what kind of cities other teams are coming from.
Emoji Challenge - Team Aix-Marseille
The iGEM team Aix-Marseille organized an emoji challenge on social media. The aim was to send them a description or title of the project with emoji. Later they organized a contest where teams tried to guess what project each emoji text was describing. In Figure 10, you can see the emojis describing our project.
The picture about emojis describing our project. Emojis include: two bacteria in different colours, scissors, a medicine capsule, a cross and a wave.
Figure 10. Our project described with emojis.
A picture of team Aboa's female members kayaking
Figure 11. Part of our team kayaking
Rosalind Chronicles - Team Thessaloniki and Patras
The aim of this collaboration “challenge” was to honor the Women in Science. The teams organizing this challenge gathered photos of female team members and teams’ favourite female scientists from other iGEM teams. We participated in this challenge by sending one photo of our female team members kayaking (Figure 11) and one photo of our favourite female scientist Eva-Mari Aro. She is a research director and an emeritus professor of Molecular Plant Biology in the Department of Life Technologies at our university. Check all pictures and descriptions from here.