Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Maryland) & Lambert High School (Suwanee, Georgia)

We reached out to JHU during the summer of 2021 and began our partnership by discussing the difficulties we faced when reaching our to professionals and stakeholders. The 2021 FSU iGEM team focused on combatting Food Insecurity in our local community, however, we saw the potential of our solution being replicated in other communities across the U.S. The Johns Hopkins iGEM team focused on fighting off the aspergillus sydowii fungus that's harming Florida's coral reefs. Their team needed to reach out to experts who work with coral reefs along Florida’s coast and we needed help reaching out to food pantries and food banks outside of Tallahassee. By advising each other on the best way to contact our stakeholders, we improved our outreach to stakeholders. John Hopkins being a new iGEM team, had difficulty with raising money for their program so we connected them with our entrepreneurship lead and our Supervisor, who gave helpful advice to fundraise money for a new team like JHU’s program. We also offered helpful advice for what goals they should strive towards. We reached out to Lambert during the summer of 2021 and began our partnership by discussing the different approaches we took to address food insecurity. We then invited them to the Easternboard Seaboard Alliance after our first meeting in the late summer 2021 and held recurring zoom meeting to troubleshoot our projects.


To further reduce the production cost of our chitin secretion cells we partnered with the Lambert iGEM team. Our teams tackled food insecurity using different approaches but benefited greatly from using Lambert’s inexpensive lyophilizer, LyphoX. Storing our Chitin Secretion cells would require an expensive -80 Celsius freezers or conventional lyophilizers. By using the LyphoX, our team could drastically cut the cost of storing our chitin secretion cells. We sent a line of our chitin secretion cells to Lambert for lyophilization and they successfuly lyhpilzed our cells. In line with Lambert’s goal to distribute E. Coli and cell-free lysates, Lambert tested the feasibility of shipping lyophilized cells by sending our lyophilized cells to JHU through FedEx. Once it arrived, JHU attempted to revive the cultures by comparing a control of lyophilized cells to 2 incubated vials for 1 day and another 2 vials for 2 days. No cloudiness was found on the vials post-incubation, so we suspect that no cell growth is occurring.

chitin secretion cells
chitin secretion cells

University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

We participated in a partnership with UPenn’s 2021 team. Our needs are aligned such that we can mutually benefit each other's project. UPenn’s project was to develop a hardware to efficiently test and measure light inducible systems (OptoReader). Our team wanted to test the efficacy of transforming cells with chitin synthases (synthase 6 - SLA_4763 and chitin_synth_1N - EOO61_17950) from the UniProt database that have never been characterized before, but we expected the cells to be toxic to prokaryotic cells. We worked with UPenn to develop a light inducible endosomal explosion. The process has two stages: 1) the host cell is allowed to incubate until a critical population size is met; 2) blue light from the OptoReader would induce expression that would likely kill the cell. The concentration of chitin can then be tested for. UPenn has decided to link the expression of the light inducible system and our chitin synthase operons to a fluorescent indicator for easy measurements. Experimentation is ongoing and results are expected after the wiki freeze period.