Team:NUS Singapore/Awards

iGEM Wiki

iGEM Wiki


NUS iGEM 2021 is proud to have achieved:


First Runner-Up

Best Manufacturing

Best Part Collection

Best Wiki

Gold Medal


Best Hardware

Best Model

Best Integrated Human Practices

Best Presentation

Bronze Medal


Check out our attributions page.

Project Description

Check out our description page.


Added characterisation data and improved upon BBa_K1159105.
First team to characterize existing part BBa_K792002.
First team to characterize existing part BBa_K2935073.
Designed and provided the schematics for an open-source, 3D printable optogenetic bioreactor.
Developed an extensive Human Practices framework for projects dealing with supply chains.

Silver Medal

Engineering Success

We demonstrated multiple DTBL iterations on our project to improve and characterise our system and parts BBa_K3927001, BBa_K3927006 and BBa_K3927018! Check out our engineering page.


We collaborated with Team Manipal 2021 and Team Zurich 2021 to perform consumer perception survey on the use of pesticides for agriculture! Check out our results here.
We created consumer education videos series with Team Manipal 2021 and Team Zurich 2021 to debunk misconceptions on biopesticide use and the importance of crop protection to enhance food security, check out the videos here!

Human Practices

We contacted and consulted a wide spectrum of stakeholders in the overall food production supply chain.
We developed a user-centric approach to problem identification and problem solving: a 'farm to table' approach when identifying key stakeholders to approach!
Spoke to supply chain participants (Producer, Retailer, Consumer) and regulatory bodies in Singapore to ensure that a holistic view was formed before embarking on forming a solution. Check out our Human Practices framework here!

Proposed Implementation

With extensive planning, we developed a concrete plan to design, build and implement our project, check out our implementation here!

Gold Medal

Integrated Human Practices

We accounted for key insights provided by each stakeholder along the food supply chain and performed detail review of our team's solution to ensure it fit stakeholder needs.
After developing the solutions, we presented our implementations and findings to our stakeholders for feedback.
Throughout the project, feedback from stakeholders influenced design choices and subsequent DBTL iterations were performed with stakeholder feedback in mind.
Both Wet Lab and Hardware design choices revolved around adapting the solutions designed to best fit stakeholder needs!

Part Improvement

Improved part BBa_K3570021, a proposed part for a blue light transcription factor in S.cerevisiae, by first characterizing it, and undergoing multiple DBTL cycles to fit it into a new composite part, BBa_K3927003, that utilized a novel positive feedback loop to increase expression. Check out the part page here.
Improved part BBa_K1159105, a nuclease kill switch, by first characterizing it, then adding an NLS site to allow the kill switch to localize in the nuclease, increasing cell mortality rate. Check out the part page here.


Mathematical models were developed and tested to predict the results of our blue light induction as well as flocculation. These models were also used to direct the design of further iterations of our circuits, as well as automate our hardware. Click here to see our models!

Proof of Concept

We wanted to develop an end-to-end solution, with the key goal of providing a tangible product to the stakeholders, and not a solution confined to the lab itself.
Thus, we integrated both wet lab and hardware together to create a POC: optogenetically inducible, biopesticide producing yeast GMO that interfaces with a low-cost opensource bioreactor design.
Using our final vision listed in our proposed implementation, we developed a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that was able to demonstrate the overall concept to our stakeholders. By doing so we were also able to gather additional feedback that was used to further iterate and improve on our prototype system. Check out our POC here!


NUS x NTU ”BioMachines event: We worked together with team NTU 2021 across the competition period to develop educational materials for pre-university students on SynBio to inspire the next generation of synbio researcher.
Together, we created a 4 part video series on Synbio education for the public to watch. Check out the videos here!

Education and Outreach

Together with Team NTU 2021, we created a repository of educational materials, such as slides and videos, to help educate the public on Synthetic Biology.
We also used these materials to carry out an event with local students in Junior College, planning a day of fun filled and educational activities. Check out the event here!

Our Goal: The Special Prizes


Our team has worked towards spreading awareness about synthetic biology and its applications in several different ways. We wanted to ensure that we targeted people from varied backgrounds and age groups to build a better general awareness about synbio. To begin with, in a collaboration with the NTU iGEM team, we held a synbio immersion workshop that taught children aged 12-18 about the world of synbio. The workshop, although was held online, still gave these students the opportunity to build genetic circuits, learn about common lab techniques, etc. all through virtual games and platforms. Then, to further our outreach, we have recorded and published a series of short lectures with the NTU iGEM team that can reach a much wider audience than the students who attended the synbio workshop. Additionally, we conducted short information sessions in some of our university modules to further the reach of synbio. Apart from students, specifically for our project, we wanted to bring consumer awareness to the benefits of using synthetic biology in the agricultural field - a few videos were designed to boost consumer education in this regard as well.
Find out more here!


The key aim of our project was to develop a Proof-of-Concept of a decentralised bio-production model of anti-fungals, whereby we coupled our optogenetic yeast with a cheap to produce bioreactor for deployment on indoor farms in Singapore. Taking into account of the stakeholder feedback we received (low-cost requirements, compact, easy to use), we have developed a low-cost, open source bioreactor with a reaction volume of 50 mL that can be readily manufactured using a basic 3D printer and cheap electronic components. The overall cost to build the reactor was SGD$200 (approximately USD$150), thereby making the reactor affordable for farmers. Our solution has a compact space footprint and can be deployed in tight indoor spaces. The reactor is also programmed to operate automatically through the production process with minimal user input, thereby making our system user friendly for our local farmers as well.
Find out more here!

Integrated Human Practices

We developed a human-centric framework deeply rooted in the agricultural sector in Singapore to thoroughly investigate every aspect of our project and its impact on the larger community. We began by defining our problem by talking to several farms across the island. Building on their needs we started defining our solution using feedback from regulatory authorities and scientific experts. At every step of the project development process, we consulted an industry expert to make sure that our end product was duly suited to the needs of our primary users. Apart from our direct stakeholders (scientific experts, regulatory authorities, farmers), we also sought to understand the socio-cultural and ethical views on our product through a country-wide survey and investigated how we could bring synbio closer to the common consumer, ultimately settling on an educational video. All in all, we believe that our project was greatly informed by our users at every step of the way by our Integrated Human Practices.
Find out more here!


Our modelling was crucial in developing our project in keyways. We developed a flocculation model that can tell farmers when the yeast would be flocculated and the biopesticide ready for collection. This model is not only novel and computationally inexpensive but also makes our hardware easy to use by farmers. This model also eliminated the use of expensive OD readers to estimate flocculation as it can do so computationally with a few key parameters, drastically saving on costs. Thus our flocculation model not only added to current literature but made our project significantly more viable. We also developed a model to optimize our blue-light system and were able to suggest relevant changes to the wet lab. Our suggestion of using multiple C120 repeats not only showed a multi-fold change in the Hill Coefficient, but also a 20% increase in max fluorescence/OD achieved.
Find out more here!

Safety and Security

Safety and security were major considerations in our bioreactors and chassis designs as well as in the characterisation of our bio pesticide. The bioreactor is in fact, designed to have built-in spill/leak redundancy as a form of physical/environmental containment measure. Additionally, the production chassis will incorporate a blue-light inducible flocculation gene circuit that will result in the chassis flocculating to the bottom of the reactor vessel. Only the cell-free supernatant will be siphoned off from the top to prevent uptake of the chassis, which addresses the main concern of the Genetic Modification Advisory Committee in Singapore. Secondary biocontainment is achieved using a blue and red light-inducible AND gate that will trigger the expression of endonucleases to destroy any chassis organisms that were not flocculated, effectively eliminating any stray micro-organisms . Tertiary biocontainment is also achieved as we filter the product, human beta defensin, from the reactor through a 0.22-micrometer membrane to prevent any remaining chassis organism from being retained in the final product. Our hardware's UV light is also encased to prevent user exposure to UV rays. The final biopesticide meets the safety requirements of the Singapore Food Agency as well - human safe, environmentally safe, low toxicity.
Find out more here!

The Parts Awards

Best New Basic Part

Part Number: BBa_K3927001

Best New Composite Part

Part Number: BBa_K3927020

Best Part Collection

We have taken a collection of parts, both existing and newly designed, and curated them into a 'toolkit' collection for our blue light inducible system designed for S. cerevisiae. Future researchers/iGEM teams can easily access this part collection and use the parts in a 'plug and play' manner. The collection has been curated specifically such that readers need not need to search for additional parts to develop their own blue-light inducible yeast systems, as the parts featured are all that is required.

The Part Numbers are: