Since the team was created, one of the most important challenges was to split ourselves in groups so that efficient work on all the parts of the project can be provided. This internal organisation moved a lot but turned is very important. In this section we wish to present to you how the tasks were split within the team and the help we obtained from external contributors.
Team members: Camila Ballenghien, Juliette Bellengier, Daria Federova, Nathália Raquel de Souza Fernandes, Clément Galan, Karolina Guzauskaite, Sarah Haggenmüller, Etienne Lemiere, Imran Nooradin, Zoé Pincemaille (UTC).
External contributors: Abhay Koushik, Julian Quilfen, Reid Polis, Michael Sedbon.
The decision was made to create five groups: wet-lab, dry-lab, marketing & communication and legal & finance, described below. Each group had its own purpose and internal organization so that they were able to work independently but on complementary sides of the project.
The wet lab objective is related to the laboratory experiments and data collection. These members performed several experiments in our laboratory ranging from classical synthetic biology experiments such as Golden Gate and miniprep to microbiology experiments for characterisation like flow cytometry. Mentors were present to supervise us at some struggle points. Additionally, a lot of literature research was realized before starting the experimental design, realisation and interpretation of the results.
First, the Wet-Lab team started by brainstorming, before moving to the development of the project idea and finding a correct application for our bioproduction system. A lot of discussion sessions were required to define the problem that we wanted to tackle as well as to find the proper way to solve it. 4 groups were then created with particular missions:
The minicell group aimed to characterize minicells. On one hand they characterized the minicell production and properties. Clément and Juliette (flow cytometry), Camila (Zetasizer), Daria and Nathália (Zetasizer and microscopy).
On the other hand they designed genetic circuits to monitor their production. Zoé (UTC) (constructs design, golden gate), Nathalia (cloning, characterization), Camila (design of constructs, cloning, characterization).
The cell separation group was here to ensure that minicells were completely separated from the mothercells. This required both filtration and selective killing. Sarah (inducible phage system, filtration).
The enzymatic production group was in charge of ensuring that the enzyme of interest is produced in the minicells and quantifying it. Zoé (UTC) (constructs design), Camila (construct design, golden gate, characterization), Daria and Nathália (enzyme collection).
The dry lab team was responsible for all the informatic work during the project. We used our informatic skills to complement the work that had been done in the laboratory as well as analyzing the data. Members worked by reading documentation and implementing different tasks from July to October.
The model group was in charge of writing several pieces of code to simulate minicell production. They used the data produced by the team to provide efficient data analysis as well as simulation of the processes. This helped to characterize what has been engineered in the laboratory. Clément (modelling) and Abhay (image analysis).
Data analysis was done and reviewed by the entire team.
Also the need of creating complementary groups appeared while doing the project. Some of our team members then decided to take other responsibilities complementary to the previous ones:
The biosafety group aimed to make sure that every part of our project was respecting the safety rules. Also they worked on increasing and testing biosafety in our processes and prototypes. Juliette and Sarah (lab maintenance), Juliette and Zoé (biosafety).
The hardware group was working to create a device to monitor the whole system. They gathered the material and made an automated prototype of a small bioreactor for enzyme production. Etienne (visual, arduino), Juliette, Sarah, Daria and Nathalia (idealization, research, design), Michael (hardware prototyping).
The partnership group worked on the project that we worked on with iGEM Marburg. They started to develop the whole pipeline to make high throughput Golden Gate accessible to all iGEM teams. In parallel, work about characterization of the Community RBS collection and redefining the distribution kit was done. Zoé (community RBS, Golden Gate, kit construction, general process), Clément (logistics), Daria and Nathália (conduction of experiments).
The collaborations team The collaborations team worked on building projects with other iGEM teams. Juliette, Clément (Cité des Sciences, French Meetup), Camila and Nathália (contact a variety of teams and companies).
The communication group aimed to contact all the different actors of the project. Different tools like social media, mails and contacts were used to reach the public but not only. Also collaboration or discussion has been established with other iGEM teams and specific communities. Juliette (contact, collaborations), Etienne (contact, designs), Camila (collaborations), Clément (contact, collaborations), Reid (outreach), Kangkan (social network), Abhay (sponsoring).
The video team worked on the promotion video: Sarah(video shooting and editing), Daria (video editing), Clément (video shooting and editing), Camila (video shooting), Zoé (UTC)(video shooting, voiceover), Juliette (video shooting), David(video shooting), Abhay (video shooting)
the presentation video: EphiScience: Pleen (script review) and Méli Bry (video shooting, editing, voiceover, script review), Sarah (script), Clément (script, video shooting, voiceover), Juliette (script, video shooting, VoiceOver), Zoé (UTC) (script, video shooting, voiceover), Camila (video shooting, script), Nathalia (video shooting, script), Etienne (video shooting), Daria (script)
The organization of the Paris CRI Jamboree was done by Juliette and Clément.
The chocolate supply was provided by Clément and Juliette.
In order to include it into the global community and understand the challenges around our topic, the Human practices team worked on communication and project application. We chose to regard HP as a meaningful and significant part of our project. Our team placed HP in a really important place in our project. Of course, we also aimed to produce content with good designs and we needed marketing skills for some aspects of the project. So our human practices team included 3 different aspects:
The design group produced clear designs to bridge the existing communication gap between science and the audience. For most of the step, the team has been able to express their ideas and translatetraduce them into nice visuals. These visuals were used as explanatory elements and for our image. Etienne (graphic designs).
The application team was here to improve and develop our ideas so that it suits best to our bioproduction process. The way to do so was to discuss and collect the feedback from scientists, artists, industrials and then perform complementary experiments on pigments, and consequently adapt our strategies. Daria (experiments), Etienne (contact).
Legal and finance
The students in this team dealt with the budget as well as the administrative aspects of the project. We also needed volunteers for the budget and the different contracts were managed by this subteam (Clément, Juliette and Zoé (UTC)).
Finally, at the end of the project all the members and especially those who were involved in the dry-lab and legal and finance groups helped to produce the content that appears on the wiki.
Team and project organization
Meeting structure, task prioritization and task planification was done by Zoé (UTC), Juliette and Clément.
Mentors in iGEM are necessary to make a successful project. This year, we benefited from the contribution of two professors at the CRI, who are joining iGEM every year as Paris Bettencourt team’s mentors: Ariel Lindner and Jake Wintermute. We were also supported and helped by Alexis Casas and Aya Gomaa, former iGEMers with this very same team. They used their experience to guide us through the process but having a minimum of interference with our ideas and organisation. They started to intervene at the end of the idea selection process in order to validate or project and redefine it so that it fit more to the iGEM criterias and technical feasibility. They regularly checked how we were doing and helped us deal with the deadlines so that we could produce more efficient work and keep in mind our objectives. When sometimes a part of the team was struggling to face a problem, our mentors provided us with advice, especially about the wet lab and iGEM requirements, helping us move forward.
During the whole process, we got support from people from outside and from our mentors too. We are very thankful to all these people without whom this project would not have been feasible. Learn more about them in our acknowledgements.