On this page, you will be able to read about our partnership with the iGEM team from NCKU Taiwan, where we helped each other with Human Practices and dry lab parts of our iGEM experience.


Earlier this year, NCKU Taiwan contacted us with a proposal regarding a potential partnership as we were working with the same topic, namely depression. We arranged an online meeting where each team presented their project. It became clear that our approach was different, as the other team mostly worked with therapeutics in contrast to us, where we are primarily focused on the manufacturing part. Despite this contradiction, we decided to help each other out as we shared a common goal to relieve depression. We have ever since then held weekly meetings devoted to this purpose.

Thanks to our partnership, we have accomplished many essential elements for our project. First and foremost, the partnership has contributed to a general understanding and insight into how an iGEM project takes place at other universities in an entirely different part of the world. It has been a great help and relief to learn how the many challenges our team has experienced can be reflected in other teams.

Concerning the more technical aspects of the project, we have met several medal criteria through the partnership, which can generally be divided between human practices and modeling.

At the beginning of our partnership, we had a lot of discussions on what it should be based upon. Initially, we wanted to collaborate in the wet lab, which was impossible, as we did not experience the same problems. We, therefore, continued with dry lab and human practices instead.

Human practices

In terms of human practices, we have made a podcast about mental health together. In the podcast, we discuss our projects, the iGEM competition, how depression is handled, and views on mental health in Denmark and Taiwan. We have also made a card game to fight the taboo surrounding depression. The card game will be described later, as it involves yet another team and, therefore, mostly is considered a collaboration.

Besides the above mentioned, our partnership in human practices mainly relies on entrepreneurship, which comprehends proposed implementation. In this, we have been working on a simplified business plan trying to include a wide range of different models such as SWOT analysis and Canvas model (to name a few - to see more, please go to entrepreneurship here). In which we describe how our projects potentially can be implemented into the real world.

Our partnership has taken place in such a way that for several meetings after individual research, we have met online and discussed how we should approach this - for instance, which models would be most interesting to focus on. Afterwards, each team has filled out these alone, after which we met online again to review each other’s work and give constructive critique and ideas for improvements.

Furthermore, we met up with a Danish startup company that works with cannabinoids. They presented a set of models that they found helpful and believe constitutes a solid foundation. These have been a great source of inspiration for our discussions, and both teams have been aiming to introduce them as part of the business plan.

Dry lab

At the beginning of our partnership, we discussed whether we should try to develop some hardware in the form of an app about depression with various features. However, due to a lack of resources in both of our teams, we decided not to continue with this idea.

We did, however, collaborate on project modeling, as both teams needed to focus on especially enzyme kinetics. We started with a meeting only involving the two groups of each team working with modeling. Both teams were very enthusiastic and spent a lot of time discussing the best kind of models. These discussions and meetings have been a great help to our team, as we were introduced to an ideal modeling software called COPASI, which the other team helped explaining to us. Afterwards, we created a group chat devoted to modeling, making it possible to discuss different topics flexibly.