Our participation in IGEM 2021 was one of the most enriching events in the history of our lives as science and technology developers, being the most important annual Synthetic Biology competition in the world, which brings together great talents, workers passionate about democratizing science, and brilliant minds from around the globe. Our team is grateful to have been able to be part of the more than 7000 students, scientists, and other professionals from whom they acquired valuable learning on a human and professional level.
Also, we obtained a GOLD MEDAL and we were the most awarded team in all of America.
Our project achieved 6 different nominations in this category, these were:
Best Food and Nutrition Project
Best Sustainable Development Impact
Best New Composite Part
Integrated Human Best Practices
And that's how our hard work paid off, we got 4 special awards out of our 6 nominations, these are:
This shows us that Ecuador has great talents and that it is possible to dream very high.
Medal criteria summary
This web page is made to ease judges the review of medal criteria. Our main objective is to get a gold medal inside our mailboxes here in Ecuador. Will we have achieved it?
1. Competition Deliverables
Wiki/Presentation Video: The wiki page was finalized on 21 october as the deadline indicated. The presentation video will be delivered on time and it will be available to watch in the iGEM Video Universe.
Judging form: Judging form was submited on 21 october and is visible for judges since that deadline.
To visibilize attributions with the importance it deserves we made an special web page, visit it in the Attributions page.
3. Project Description
We have succesfully decribed our project, explained why we choose it as out iGEM project for this year, and how will we achieve our proposed goal: to develop a modular platform for dsRNA production for pathogen gene silencing. Visit it in the Description page.
We have made many contributions to future iGEM teams. We want to point to a contribution that was very helful to ourselves. We constructed a composite part that allows us to obtain experimental data and characterize a many-times-used iGEM promoter: the pLux promoter. In particular, we provided experimental data and characterization for the Golden Braid version BBa_K2656003 of pLux promoter BBa_R0062 made by Valencia_UPV 2018 Team. We used this caracterization in our Model and in the DBTL cycle that we made to develop our Release and delivery module.
1. Engineering Success
The DBTL cycle is very important to any engineering discipline, including Synthetic Biology. We follows the DBTL cycle focusing particularly on the development of Agrobactory's Module 2-Delivery and Realease device (composite part BBa_K3893030). First we designed our devices and made a comprehensive mathematical model to check if the design was able to give us oscilations in the population level (Design). Once we checked that it was indeed posible, we made a building plan and finaly we constructed (Build) a Golden braid level 3 composite part including four transcripcitonal units to implement our device. With this construction we made temporal experiments (Test) to assess the behaviour of the constructed part, verifiyng that it works as expected. Finally, and also including information from our experimental data and characterization of pLux promoter we improved our original model to get a new and more acurate one that can describe our device in different conditions and make better predictions (Learn) demonstrating engineering success. You can visit our own DBTL cycle in the Engineering page.
iGEM would not be what it is whithout interaction between teams. To check out our collaborations and what we have done please go to our collaborations page.
3. Human Practices
We discussed with the key actors for our project: the Ecuadorian banana value chain representatives, Ecuador’s regulatory entities of Agriculture & Environment, and Experts from academia. We wanted to learn from them and to provide a solution that meets their demands. See our Human Practices page for detailes.
4. Proposed Implementation
Since the begging AgroBactory 593 was conceptualized to be implemented in the real world of our country. So, we analyed, thought, and asked ourselves and others all the relevant questions. See our Implementation page to check out the answers.
1. Integrated Human Practices
The way we used our Human Practices work to improve and adapt the design of AgroBactory 593 can be read in the next link: Integrated Human Practice.
2. Project modeling
The design and construction of AgroBactory 593 was based on modeling. It captures dsRNA production dynamics, the quorum sensing system to synchronize cells death and release of dsRNA, and RNA silencing in the pathogen. Moreover, by including experimental data of some of the components, we got a new predictive model that can be used to redesign our device, to predict outcomes for different conditions and components, and much more.
3. Proof of concept
In order to demonstrate AgroBactory 593 potential functioning, we have included each proof-of-concept of individual modules and the most relevant wet lab experiments. You can check it going to the Proof Of Concept page.
4. Education & Communication
Among other things we did for Education, one is particularly interesting: since early this year, our PI Francisco Flores is teaching the new subject Synthetic Biology at the ESPE University. This initiative was motivated thanks to our participation in iGEM. See our Education page to see how this was possible and its potential.
5a. Excellence in Another Area: Enterpreneurship
In Ecuador, scientific entrepreneurship is very limited due to the low investment in this area. Nevertheless, we found an opportunity in the program "Pre-incubation of business ESPE 2020" where we participated with Agrobactory 593. This was a space with experts in entrepreneurship who advised us in the validation of our business idea. Agrobactory 593 obtained the best score among participating projects, obtaining recognition from the organizers, indicating that our project has a solid value proposition and a sustainable business model. Here you can check our market validation and minimum viable product.
5b. Excellence in Another Area: Inclusivity
Indigenous groups represent 7% of the Ecuadorian population, however almost 44% are native children and adolescents. There is a significant gap between the indigenous and non-indigenous population in terms of access to elementary education.
As an iGEM team that is committed to the democratisation of science and particularly synthetic biology, we brought different activities to children and adolescents from 4 indigenous groups in Ecuador. In our Inclusivity page you can see what we did and its impact.