Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” – Henry Ford


Collaborating with other teams is an essential part of iGEM and we took the opportunity to join as many collaborations as we could. The COVID-19 pandemic affected iGEM teams all over the world and challenged us all to find new ways to connect with each other. We appreciate all the effort our fellow iGEMers put into their collaboration proposals to get to know other teams, projects and cultures.


We were also able to establish two wonderful partnerships this year. One with the team of iGEM Paris Bettencourt and one with iGEM Bielefeld:

Partnership Bielefeld-CeBiTec 2021 - the Phototrophic community

First of all we want to highlight our fantastic partnership with the team of iGEM Bielefeld.

Together we build a community of iGEM teams working together on phototrophs. Our goal is to grow this great community further and make it accessible and available for future iGEM teams. We initially met very early in the project and worked together on our Partnership for the entire iGEM season. We hosted four meet-ups in different areas from working with phototrophs to human practices ideas for interested iGEM teams of this year's competition. The meet-ups focused on the teams' individual projects, scientific talks and also included sessions dedicated to troubleshooting where questions from the teams about their scientific parts could be clarified.
The partnership also includes a handbook of over 160 pages explaining the basics of working with phototrophs to future teams. The handbook is co-written by nine other iGEM teams, which all also attended the meet-ups. We hope that our handbook can help to standardise the methods with which phototrophs are handled, to ensure that future researchers can fall back on a set of guidelines.
To finish up on our partnership Julia, Lennart and Paul of iGEM Bielefeld visited us in Marburg for a weekend to further work on the handbook and organize establishing the community for future iGEM Teams. Over two work-intensive days, we finalised the handbook and started with the establishment of the phototrophs community for future iGEM teams.


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Partnership Paris Bettencourt 2021 - "Remote Lab"

In our second partnership we worked together with iGEM Paris Bettencourt 2021 on a "Remote Lab" project.
Getting access to a fully equipped laboratory is always a challenge for new iGEM teams and especially during the pandemic it was extremely difficult and sometimes even impossible for many teams to get the needed lab space. In order to address the obstacles which teams are facing, we aim to build a lasting platform to connect future iGEM teams to share their resources and equipment to collaborate with each other from afar.
To test our idea of teams sharing resources and equipment, both teams performed a number of experiments to ensure reproducibility and in-depth troubleshooting. We both had access to a Beckman Coulter Echo™ liquid handler and used a high-throughput method for Golden Gate assembly during the experiments.

We hope that, with our platform, iGEM teams can collaborate more easily with other teams that own more modern or different equipment to achieve better results and strengthen the iGEM community by sharing experience and resources.

Partnership Remote Lab

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In addition to our partnerships, we have also conducted a couple of collaborations.


Pretty early in our project, we got in contact with the iGEM Team UC Madrid 2021. They were interested in getting to know the project of iGEM Marburg 2019, as they planned to work with cyanobacteria during their 2021 project. Michael, one of our team members, who was also part of the 2019 team agreed to meet via Zoom.
Their project aims to use cyanobacteria as living catalysts for light-driven direct carbon dioxide conversion to valuable products. For this endeavor, they plan to use a newly described cyanobacterial strain, namely S. elongatus PCC 11801. Regulatory elements like the Anderson promoters, the community RBS, and commonly used terminators like BBa_B0015 should also be functional in PCC 11801, therefore all parts produced by iGEM Marburg 2018, 2019 and the parts we built this year could be useful to them. We are sure that the standardized nature of the parts will be helpful when it comes to implementing the DBTL cycle in any iGEM project.

After a lively discussion on the past experience of Michael during his journey in 2019, we agreed on a set of 17 parts from the collection of 2019 that we can provide the UC Madrid team with. During two more meetings, the general structure of the Marburg collection was introduced to the team of Madrid and how to add more parts in the syntax of the toolbox. Also, Michael gave some tips and tricks on working with cyanobacteria (especially on Synechococcus elongatus UTEX 2973). We met the team of Madrid_UCM during the phototroph meetup series we hosted together with the iGEM team of Bielefeld-CeBiTec, where they presented their project. These 17 parts were then prepared via Miniprep from cryostocks made in 2019 and subsequently sent to Madrid. The package arrived shortly after in Madrid. We are excited to see what they have achieved during the iGEM 2021 season.

Part List:

  1. RFP Entry Vector: BBa_K2560001
  2. RFP Res Entry Vector: BBa_K2560005
  3. T7 Polymerase (Se): BBa_K3228050
  4. sYFPII (Se): BBa_K3228045
  5. mAntares2 (Se): BBa_K3228043
  6. TB0015: BBa_K2560035
  7. 5a TB0015 short: BBa_K3228005
  8. 5b Spec Res short: BBa_K3228016
  9. NSI integration site upstream: BBa_K3228020
  10. NSI integration site downstream: BBa_K3228023
  11. 5'Con1_L1_Res Connector: BBa_K2560107
  12. 5'Con2_L1 Short Connector: BBa_K2560076
  13. 5'Con3_L1 Short Connector: BBa_K2560077
  14. 3'Con1_L1 Connector: BBa_K2560070
  15. 3'Con2_L1 Connector: BBa_K2560071
  16. 3'Con5_L1 Ori Connector: BBa_K2560080
  17. panS_specRes_lvl1: BBa_K3228069

iGEM Thrace - “Communicating Science to non-Scientists”

In July we were given the opportunity to join the Erasmus+ Programme “Communicating Science to non-Scientists” hosted by the iGEM Thrace team, so we sent out our team member Yasoo to fly to Alexandroupolis and represent the OpenPlast team. We are grateful for the invite and hope to be able to use Yasoo’s experiences from Greece to improve the way we communicate science in our project.

iGEM Thrace

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Smaller Collaborations

We also joined some Collaborations to help other iGEM Teams with their projects.

The #igemmonumentchallenge

of iGEM GO Paris-Saclay challenged us to post pictures of a few local monuments on our Instagram account, which gave us the opportunity to virtually visit other cities and show other teams monuments in Marburg, while practicing social distancing.

iGEM cookbook collaboration

iGEM Macau asked for recipes to include in their cookbook collaboration and we delivered a recipe for the German specialty of Sauerbraten (meat marinated and cooked in a red wine sauce), Knödel (potato dumplings) and red cabbage, a dish that perfectly matches with beer. We are excited to see the recipes other teams have submitted!

"Postcard Project” of iGEM Duesseldorf

We also loved joining the “Postcard Project” of iGEM Düsseldorf, where we sent out a bunch of our postcards, designed by one of our team members, and received a stack of other team’s postcards in return. To see the creativity of the designs made by other teams made this collaboration really enjoyable.


Even though we were not able to connect with other teams at in person meetups due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we took the opportunity to join a few virtual meetups.

The virtual German iGEM Meetup,

which was organised and hosted by iGEM Bonn and iGEM Kaiserslautern, gave us the wonderful opportunity to get in touch with other german teams while getting new insights in topics we were not familiar with before.

Russian Meet-up

A few members of our team also joined the russian meetup, where our team member Michael gave a presentation about our OpenPlast project and discussed other projects as well. The Russian Meet-up was hosted by the iGEM Teams Moscow, Moscow_City and LMSU.