Team:DUT China/Collaborations


During this season, we have developed friendly exchanges and cooperation with many teams and organizations. Including OUC-China, Tianjin, CPU_China, TJUSLS_China, Tongji_China, SCAU-China and other teams, as well as participating in Plasticase, ICII, CCiC, New Pollutants Alliance and other organizations or conferences. During these exchange and cooperation processes, we have learned a lot in the academic and industrial fields, and the ability to communicate and get along with other people has also been improved.


Throughout the season, we collaborated with OUC-China on several issues. We responded to the theme of World Environment Day 2021: Ecosystem Restoration. With the opportunity of the competition, we co-authored a popular science article with the OUC-China team to popularize microplastics and antibiotics, to educate people about the concepts and dangers of antibiotics and microplastics as new pollutants, and to call on the public to contribute to world environmental protection.

After the popular science article was published, we received widespread attention and discussion, and the public's understanding of new pollutants has just begun. Inspired by this, we also tried to increase the science education of new pollutants, so that the society can have a more sustainable and extensive knowledge about new pollutants. Based on this, we joined OUC-China, Nanjing_NFLS, HiZJU, and SJTU-BioX-Shanghai to form the New Pollutants Alliance and held an online workshop on New Pollutants on September 25, 2021. Our team's project is on plastic degradation, which also includes the degradation of microplastics in new environmental pollutants. The ultimate goal of our team is to degrade environmental pollutants as well as OUC-China and other teams. In addition, we learned about contaminants other than microplastics - persistent organic pollutants, antibiotics, and the need for pollution control. New contaminants may enter the environment and cause known or potential negative ecological or health effects. These substances may become the subject of regulatory management in the future. These compounds have attracted a lot of attention from the community and are a hot spot for scientific research. In particular, we invited teachers in the field of synthetic biology and ecotoxicology, companies in the field of rapid testing and students with legal background to share and discuss. At the conference, we also learned about the laws and testing standards related to the environment, which will help our project go to the market better.

We hope our team can collaborate with other iGEM teams to contribute to the improvement of pollutant management and environmental issues. We also hope to gather our strengths and explore new pollutant solutions from multiple dimensions to build a better world together!

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We began to contact with Tianjin at the Conference of China iGEMer Community(CCIC) conference, and our two teams had friendly exchanges, which also laid the foundation for the long-term cooperation. With the enhancement of communication, we found that both teams have highlights in the experimental design. It is undeniable that they are more experienced in this regard. However, we can help them in modeling and wiki construction. Therefore, the cooperation between the two teams has helped promote the work of their respective teams.

During the experiment, we encountered a challenge in using SE seamlessly to connect three DNA fragments. Faced with this result, we thought it over and over again and finally decided to seek help from the Tianjin which have a good command of the two methods: DNA assembler and CPEC assembly. After practical communication, we have a broader understanding of plasmid assembly. Finally, they used the method of CPEC assembly to help us clone and sequence the plasmid successfully.

Some members in team Tianjin encountered some problems when uploading their source code to the iGEM server. After submitting the code, the layout of some pages was different from what they expected. A member who is responsible for wiki construction in our team provided them some guidelines and helped them fixed out with his skills.

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This year, we cooperated with NEU_China in the model section. One of our members explained to NEU_China the problem of Matlab modeling with an example, and exchanged previous iGEM modeling experience. In addition, we also discussed the considerations of related genes in bacterial quorum sensing. After communicating with each other, we have all gained a lot.

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In order to contain the possible contamination of genes in the environment, we've decided to adopted a kill-switch system inspired by 2021 Tongji_China iGEM team (More details in Proof of Concept).

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The general direction of our research this year is to use microorganisms to degrade microplastics in sewage. After learning that SCAU-China's research direction is to use microalgae to degrade heavy metals in sewage, we found that we are all closely related projects to environmental governance. In particular, their respective biological products have the potential to undergo in-situ degradation in nature. Therefore, we have reached a cooperative relationship with SCAU-China. The two parties inspire each other's research ideas and exchange information resources in periodic online communication, and each workgroup as a unit, through multi-angle and deep-level cooperation, has jointly harvested a series of results.

The specific cooperation matters are as follows:

1. Throughout the competition, both sides will take environmental governance as the point of integration and provide services for each other's goals based on operating their systems. The two working paths of degrading heavy metals and degrading microplastics complement each other and jointly solve the pollution problem in the water environment.

2. The wet experiment group members of the two teams jointly raised and discussed the following questions: whether it is feasible to use the extracellular matrix EPS to adsorb heavy metals to help bind heavy metal ions; whether to use the AHL response to Chlamydomonas reinhardtii to stimulate the expression of Chlamydomonas EPS feasible. Though we didn't choose Chlamydomonas reinhardtii as base cell in the end, our collaboration on EPS and angel was benefit as well.

3. The two experimental groups also made meaningful exchanges in molecular dynamics simulation.

4. The cooperation content of the two modeling teams is: the two parties jointly use the equipment provided by SCAU-China to build related models; SCAU-China provides certain help suggestions and resource support in the outsourcing project of quantum chemical simulation by SCAU-China.

5. The cooperation mode of the two art teams is as follows: The two sides discussed and put forward the design concept of "Chlamydia Brothers", and added interactive elements such as "hand in hand", and planned to conduct joint publicity on the team uniform design and other art tasks of both parties.

6. The cooperation content of the two teams of HP is: the HP of both parties went to the local sewage treatment plant to conduct on-site investigations, consulted and inspected a series of issues jointly formulated by the two parties; SCAU-China collected water samples before and after treatment of the sewage plant, we detects and analyzes indicators such as the content of microplastics in water samples. We learned from the interview that there is a general lack of microplastics detection in manufacturing wastewater in southern China. However, microplastics are gradually being valued in sewage.

7. The two parties jointly mobilized other iGEM teams engaged in algae treatment to join the cooperation and plan to establish a microalgae alliance to expand the influence of the project.

8. To achieve the above cooperation goals better, we have held several online conferences with SCAU-China and participated in the CCiC held in Shanghai in August this year.

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Our cooperative relationship with China Pharmaceutical University is reflected in daily exchanges, meetings, discussions, and learning. We are also multi-enzyme complexes formed by closer physical contact of multiple enzyme active sites, which can significantly accelerate the chemical reaction through intermediate transmission. Multi enzyme complexes can further accelerate the degradation of enzymes without interfering with the structure of enzyme active sites or enzyme activity.

Through experiments in May this year, we deeply understood the interaction mechanism between each critical component and calculated the reaction of intermediate products to enzymes, which helps us better explain our system. To apply our complex system to other enzyme systems, we established a modular design and used our module based on an in-depth understanding of the mechanism of action. We also exchanged views on the construction of the complex online.

In addition, in May this year, we were invited by the team of Kaiserslautern University in Germany who studied laccases at the environmental track in 2020 to study the laccase project together, so we also invited the team of China Pharmaceutical University who also did the laccase project to communicate, learn appropriate methods and discuss experimental problems with each other.

In the questionnaire survey on the public's awareness of plastic pollution in July 2021, we shared the results of the questionnaire survey to have a larger data sample to ensure the universality of the results. Facts have proved that the results of the questionnaire are still related to the region.

We are not only academic and project exchanges but also formed friendships through this cooperation. In the CCiC meeting in August 2021, we had an offline appointment. We not only exchanged information on project experiments but also learned more about each other's schools.

In September 2021, we jointly interviewed the JIN TU DI Group with CPU_China. According to different directions of the project, we discussed and exchanged with professionals of the group on the composition and use of farmers' plastic sheds and films and the feasibility of project solutions. We have gained a lot and further deepened our understanding of the significance and application prospect of the project.

DUT_China and CPU_China are members of Plasticase, a community dedicated to solving the problem of plastic pollution. At the virtual round table "Reshaping the Future", both parties introduced their projects. The other side congratulated us on our success. At the same time, we also sent our blessings to CPU_China and hoped that they can get good experimental results.

In October this year, we also discussed issues related to hydrophobic proteins and shared relevant hydrophobic protein structure libraries. At the same time, we communicated the modeling of a self-organizing neural network, trying to reduce the difficulty of building a comprehensive project model. The university where CPU_China is located does not have high-temperature gel retardation chromatography. However, our school's instrument sharing platform has this equipment, so we preliminarily agreed that subsequent degradation samples of CPU_China could be sent to our school, and we would help them detect PE degradation products.

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