Our long term collaboration
with Team:UNILausanne


Establishing long term connections and collaborations are important everywhere; both at a personal level and at an industry level. In iGEM this can prove to be useful and help teams progress in their projects, pushing each other along the way. Those long-term collaborations, which iGEM usually refer to as partnerships, can come in many forms; from helping each other to come up with ideas, to do lab work and help with each other's projects, to developing software's in joint aim.

Continuing on the partnership with Team:UNILausanne (Switzerland) which started with our respective previous teams 2020, we and UNILausanne have worked together to make science more accessible and understandable for the general public, independently of where you live. While this is no easy task and can be done in several ways, the aim of this partnership is to reach people through their own languages. This is done by utilising the many different languages our teams knows and thus translation capabilities.

On this page we will present a description of our partnership with Lausanne and what we have accomplished together.


Team:UNILausanne and Us

In 2020 both Lausannes and our predecessors started a partnership with the aim to make science more accessible for the general public. How they started the partnership and what they accomplished their year can be read about here and here. Making science understandable and accessible for the general public is hard and there are already several other existing blogs and attempts to accomplish this. Though, most lack one thing; diversity in language. The majority of people in the world does not speak English, contrary to this are most scientific articles published in English which thus creates a gap. This, on the other hand is why our partnership with Lausanne can contribute with something unique. Being a Swedish and Swizz team, both with international students, we cover a wide range of languages.
By writing an original post in English, both teams can translate the content to known languages in the team, respectively and thus reach more people. As such we can reach people who may have trouble understanding science, just because of the language barrier. To continue with our predecessor's partnership, we established contact with this year's Lausannes iGEM team early to discuss how we should progress with the blog. Just like the previous year Lasuanne and us have several languages at our disposal, and also a big interest in spreading science, making it more accessible by creating easy-to-read content of complex subjects for the general public in several languages.

Read more about us on the blog!

What is the Transcriptome?

Scientific reports are usually written in English, using complex vocabularies only understood by those in or closely related to the reports scientific field. Thus, most people that actually can read an article needs to have a basic understanding or background in the articles main subject before reading it.
Of course, if you have an academic background, you are probably used to reading articles and can probably get through it, hopefully understanding bits and pieces. But it would take more of an effort to read it and probably more resources and articles to help you decipher the meanings of each sentence. Worse though would be if you had no academic background and possibly no affiliation except interest. Then the actual content would be somewhat gibberish.

The transcriptome is a blog hosted by team:UNILausanne and team:Chalmers-Gothenburg in a joint partnership which aims to write blog posts about scientific subjects; posts which are easy to understand for anyone with enough interest to read it. To actually accomplish this, it is important to realize some key issues with how science is mostly displayed currently. E.g. if you would be a poor high school student in a country where English is not the native tongue and is not part of your daily life, then you would miss out big time. The transcriptome works around all that by being free for all readers, given options on multiple languages for each post and providing easy-to-read and easy-to-understand posts which explain complex concepts and scientific words used in normal articles. This while still keeping the posts enough complex and in-depth of the subject as possible.

On the transcriptome we post about various scientific topics. While most posts stay true to our teams’ background, synthetic biology, there have also been topics such as biology, math, diseases and their origin. At the transcriptome we try to keep it simple, yet accurate, in-depth and broad, including as many readers as possible wherever they might come from.
Read more about us on our blog.

What did we do?

First and foremost, we have continued on our predecessors' wish to keep posting and keep the blog understandable to as many people as possible by translating to as many languages as we possibly could. The different languages available on the blog are currently English, Swedish, French, Spanish, Polish, Dutch, Italian, Chinese (both traditional and simplified) where our team has published in English, Swedish and Chinese which are our known languages. Additionally, we have reached out to other teams using the iGEM Slack asking for guest blog posts in their native languages, making use of iGEM as an international competition with teams all around the world covering most languages. We will try our best to make sure this blog will continue and that future teams will aim to cover even more languages.

While our main objective was to post and translate blog posts, we also recognised that more could be done to spread the word about the blog and thereby spreading science. A post will not have any impact if no one reads it, as such we have made an extended effort to spread the word of the blog to draw readers in. For each blog post we have made posts on our social media channels reaching thousands of people. We have also made flyers containing information and links to the blog which we have distributed e.g., during our high school visits. Additional flyers were handed out to the science teachers at the schools so that they could further distribute them to science students we were unable to hold lectures for. These flyers were also distributed around our campus.

Our posts

Throughout the year we have published several blog posts on the Transciptome. Below are some of them, the rest including Lausannes and other teams posts can be found here!
Using protein scaffolds to control metabolic flux
Author: Christer Edvardsson
In this blog post I will talk a little bit about how protein scaffoldings can be useful for controlling metabolic flux. The metabolism of cells is essentially a large network of coupled chemical reactions that are (mostly) catalyzed by enzymes.…
Read more
100 years with antibiotics
Author: Lina Andréasson
Short about antibiotics Most of us have sometime had the need to take antibiotics to get rid of some bacterial infection. Antibiotics work by killing bacteria or preventing them from spreading. There are a lot of different types of antibiotics, and they work through different mechanisms. There…
Read more
Cancerous Tumours and where to find them
Author: Robin Nilsson
In this post I will answer two questions you possible might have after reading the title of this blog post; Yes, the title is a play on the movie title “Fantastic beasts and where to find them” which btw is an…
Read more
Math in practice: Flux Balance Analysis (FBA) – “Simple” math with important biochemistry applications.
Author: Robin Nilsson
Maybe I am a bit biased, being a mathematician and all, but math tends to be absolutely everywhere in science. Be it economics, physics, chemistry, computer science, earth science or as you may have guess by the name of the article, biochemistry. One of many strengths of mathematics lies in its…
Read more