Throughout the iGEM year we were very fortunate enough, to join so many interesting, informing, and fun collaborations and even organizing some. They reached from smaller collaborations like a podcast, educational lesson planning, and art to our one and only partner, the iGEM team TU-Eindhoven, giving us a broader overview of what other teams are working on, where they are struggling and gave us the opportunity to learn from those talks and interactions.
We created an iGEM 2021 – Low-FODMAPs Cookbook with the help of other iGEM teams. This not only raised awareness within the iGEM community but also within society about the issues people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), and related disorders face in their everyday life. Moreover, with this, we were able to give something back to the community and specifically patients that helped us in our project.
In order to achieve that we asked other iGEM teams to creating a cookbook with low-FODMAPs recipes by sending us low-FODMAPs recipes which are typical for their country. The teams were therefore provided with a list with food containing low and high FODMAPs as well as information about IBS, NCGS, and FODMAPs.
This initial plan was then further established via a collaboration with the iGEM Team Paris Bettencourt, which unfortunately failed due to lack of personal in the team Bettencourt.
Thanks to the teams iGEM Patras, iGEM Thrace, iGEM Stanford and iGEM TU-Eindhoven that participated in this collaboration, we still could manage to create a low-FODMAPs cookbook! To further increase the knowledge of the general public we added an introduction about the disorders and our project at the beginning of the book, learning from many sides that revision and a general introduction to the topic are highly needed.
Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village (ASYV)
The Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village (ASYV) is a youth village for vulnerable teenage orphans of Rwanda, originally started for victims of the Rwandan Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994. Agahozo means “the place where tears are dried”, and Shalom means “peace”.
Our team took part in the collaboration started by the iGEM team TAU Israel, who were in contact with ASYV teachers and were looking for teams to hold one-hour lectures. The goal of their outreach to other teams was to get teams to introduce the students from ASYV to synthetic biology and its possible applications in engaged lessons.
Due to our already established contact with the team MTU-CORK, they invited us to join them and the team Concordia-Montreal in creating one presentation. For this purpose, we met up via zoom to discuss possible topics, structure, and division of the lecture. In the end deciding on a general introduction to our teams, which was then followed by an overview of our own project and of the project from MTU-CORK
The lessons were held over a time span of seven weeks with one lesson each week, resulting in seven teams (iGEM TUDelft, iGEM MTU-CORK, iGEM Hong Kong HKU, iGEM Vilnius-Lithuania, iGEM TAU Israel, iGEM Concordia-Montreal, and ourselves) participating in this collaboration. During these lessons, it became clear that this collaboration was useful not only for the students but also for all the iGEM teams since the students showed real interest in the project and questioned every decision we made. Therefore, and for many other reasons, the team TAU Israel asked all participating teams to contribute their experiences and tips to create a handbook for future teams to continue the work with the ASYV students. The handbook can be found on their website as well as below.
Rice-Pictures (iGEM MIT MAHE)
We also finished a collaboration with the iGEM team MIT MAHE, who is this year working on protecting rice crops from stem borers. Therefore, they started a collaboration, where teams create artwork made from colored rice representing their own projects. We therefore created some art pieces showing our mascots, logos, as well as foods low in FODMAPs.
Comic-Translation (iGEM Patras)
Another collaboration we were happy to take part in was the comic translation organized by the iGEM team Patras, where teams translate a comic provided by team Patras into their mother tongues. This comic described the idea of iGEM Patras’s project in an easily understood way. Since another team already translated the comic into German, we sent in a translation into a regional Austrian dialect. This was especially challenging and amusing, because we had to make sure that the translation is uniformly spelled.
KCL UK Meeting
Our collaboration with the iGEM team KCL UK started since we had an overlap in our topics. The team from the UK is working on a synthetic polymer scaffold, which could be then implanted into the spinal cord to act as a bridge for axonal regeneration. In this idea, they also use mucoadhesion, which is also a part of our project idea. Therefore, we organized a meeting to discuss our approaches and to give each other tips. This was especially helpful for our team since the team from KCL UK already had worked on this project the year before and had more experience in that matter. We kept in touch with each other over slack to see if we could help each other out until the end of the iGEM year.
TEC COSTA RICA and NCKU Tainan
Together with the iGEM teams TEC COSTA RICA and NCKU Tainan, our team organized an Instagram challenge with the goal of giving the different iGEM teams, but also other social media users, new ideas on how to calm down after a stressful day or week. This idea was born since we realized at the beginning of July that a lot of teams including ourselves started to be demotivated and needed some fresh kick, especially with the lab season starting. Initially, the teams of Costa Rica and ourselves started to organize the collaboration, but then we realized that the team from Tainan had a project in the area of stress. Therefore, we got them on board to also include some educational posts about stress and what it can cause. In the end, our three teams each created a post showing team members and how they ease off. In this post, we tagged other teams to do also create a post and tag some other teams, and so forth. These posts can be found under the Hashtag #destressiGEM.
Postcards - Düsseldorf
Together with around 100 other iGEM teams we were delighted to take part in this year’s postcard collaboration. For our own postcard we decided to feature some illustrations also present in our promotion video together with an illustration of Arnold Schwarzenegger. The postcard in the end shows our hero the Lactobacillus defeating the bad fructans as seen in the picture below.
We were also so happy to get all the other postcards, which are all so creative and can be seen also below.
Thank you so much to the team from Düsseldorf for the organization.
iGEM GO Paris-Saclay’s #igemmonumentchallenge
We were very excited to take part in this Instagram collaboration, giving all our users the possibility of a short picture tour through Vienna. This included pictures of fabulous monuments like the castle Schönbrunn, the parliament and opera but also the main amusement park, some of the churches and many many more.
iGEM UNIZAR’s Playlist
Appreciating the positive effects, the right playlist can have on a hard lab day, we were really happy to send in two of our favorite songs, to be added to the iGEM music playlist, a collaboration organized by the iGEM team UNIZAR.
The two songs we sent in consisted of “Eine ins Leben” (Pizzera & Jaus) and “Dancing Queen” (ABBA). The first one is a song from our home country Austria and the second one has been our all-time lab’s favorite.
Podcast of iGEM NAWI-Graz
We were invited to the iGEM podcast of iGEM NAWI-Graz, where we could share our plans and considerations that went into Friendzyme with other iGEM teams. In 14 minutes, we talked about FODMAPs, the importance of recognizing food intolerances, and why our technology could help not only IBS patients. The podcast was published in English and can be listened to via Spotify
We want to kindly thank the iGEM team NAWI-Graz for having us in their podcast.
Post for iGEM MTU-CORK
To follow up on the already existing contact with the team from Ireland, we were happy to support their Instagram collaboration. This consisted of us creating a design fitting our project with their mascot as well as adding one sentence describing our project.