SZU-China iGEM understands the inherent risks of working in a lab facility and aims to take all necessary precautions to ensure no personal or environmental harm occurs. To this end, we have implemented the following safety procedures below. Our completed safety form can be found here.

General Lab Safety

Personal protective

Lab coats and enclosed leather shoes were to be worn at all times, and long hair had to be tied back. When working with corrosives, acids, bases, and alcohols, gloves and safety glasses were also required. Upon leaving the lab, a disinfectant hand-wash had to be used as well.

Safety equipment

The operation of emergency showers and eyewash were demonstrated, as well as other emergency equipment including a fire blanket, extinguisher, and the panic button. The equipment will be checked whether they work properly. Obsolete or unsafe equipment are prohibited to be used.

Chemical safety

The location and appropriate storage methods of different classes of chemicals e.g. in the fume hood, flammables cabinet, and general chemical store cabinet.

Building safety

The location of fire escapes, fire evacuation plans, and First Aid Officers.

Waste disposal

The location of biological safety hazard waste containers, sharps disposal containers, autoclaving methods, and spills kits location/contents.

Project Specific Lab Safety

The Experimental Strains

Our project utilizes four Strains this year: E.coli BL21(DE3)E.coli DH5αE.coli Nissle 1917 and L.lactis . According to DSMZ, they are defined as the Risk 1 Group with low potential risk. In addition, the THP-1 cell lines used in our cell experiments were also in the risk 1 group with a lower potential risk.In our wet laboratory, all upstream genetic engineering operations, such as transformation, vector expression, protein measurement, and animal experiments involved, are carried out in strict accordance with regulations and supervised by teachers or seniors.

Filtering mechanisms

Considering the risk of interspecific transfer of antibiotic resistance genes, we cannot use erythromycin ampicillin kanamycin and other antibiotic resistance as screening conditions for engineering bacteria.

We selected heat shock protein and triclosan resistance gene as a double screening system, which can effectively screen engineering bacteria while ensuring safety. The introduction of heat shock protein also increases the stress resistance of engineering bacteria.

Please check the design page to learn more about our filtering mechanism.

Suicide System

Please check the design page click this link to learn more about our filtering mechanism.

  • Glucose Suicide System:We chose to use BBa_K3142014 as our own suicide switch, which mainly utilizes a glucose-sensitive promoter capable of expressing subsequent killer genes such as mazF under low glucose concentration.
  • Phosphate Suicide System: Due to the difference in the concentration of phosphate in the gut and circulating blood (low concentration of phosphate in the blood),We referenced the kill switch BBa_K116401. So that if bacteria enter the bloodstream by mistake, they are killed.
  • Please check the design page click this link to see our security mechanism.

    Training and Enforcement


    All of us have undergone basic lab safety training from our experimental courses of our university. In addition, our instructors spend one week to ensure that we have obtained enough theoretical knowledge. Moreover, our team members, who participated in the 2020 iGEM, taught us a series of experiments to make sure that we get plenty of practical experience. There are three main guidelines:

  • Hardware: There should be essential experimental equipments that function normally.
  • People: All the people performing experiments should be trained strictly.
  • Software: Complete regulation systems should be set up.
  • The three guidelines are supplementary to each other, and also help us achieve two essential goals.

  • Make sure that all the people performing experiments will not be infected.
  • Make sure that the environment will not be polluted..
  • Enforcement

    Team members who violate safety rules are required to work under the supervision of the experiment staff for the remainder of the week, or until the safety officer believes the member is capable of performing the task unsupervised. For multiple infractions or complete disregard to safety protocols, a member may be restricted from laboratory work until he/she undergoes retraining again, and demonstrates proper performance to a team leader of failed technique(s) in a controlled setting.