Team:St Andrews/Attributions



Each member of the 2021 St Andrews iGEM team is a current student at the University of St Andrews. Although our team carried out Phase II of Shinescreen this year, each of us was new to the project. The Phase I (2020) team did a brilliant job of handing the project over to us, as they set up team meetings (beginning in February 2021) to explain the nature of the iGEM, as well as their vision for Shinescreen and the plans for subsequent summer lab work.

For each person on the 2021 team, whether in the lab (‘wetlab’) or not (‘drylab’), working within the field of synthetic biology was a novel experience (especially since our university does not currently teach an iGEM or synthetic biology course). Since the pandemic denied us much access to practical classes during the 2020/2021 school year, our first few weeks in the lab (starting on Monday 7th June) posed quite the learning curve for the wetlab team! However, by the end of the project (Friday 13th August), each member of the wetlab team had become more confident in the overall aspects of synthetic biology, while the drylab team also gained more knowledge about synthetic biology and its applications to society.

Although our team was largely split into ‘wetlab’ and ‘drylab’ members, everyone made sure to collectively work together towards specific goals and deadlines (as outlined below). Additionally, this project could not have been completed without the hard work and dedication of many lecturers, researchers, stakeholders, technicians, and sponsors, to whom we also give thanks below.

2021 Team Members:

Weston Weston handled the primary coding and design of our team wiki page. He read over all the team’s written content and handled overall implementation of our wiki.

Yoricka Being part of the Wetlab team, Yoricka was involved in most of the lab work including growing E.coli, running countless rounds of PCR, and assembling genes into their plasmids using Gibson Assembly. Yoricka also conducted vital literary research on how best to carry out some of the procedures to suit our lab conditions when it comes to adjusting Thanogen’s design and also testing our bacteria’s ability to produce Shinorine.

Julia Julia was involved in the wetlab work on Shinescreen. She helped with Gibson Assembly protocols, PCR, and bacterial culturing. She also did some basic gel analysis using Logger Pro, and worked on the overall experimental design of the project. Julia also worked on funding applications for grants from the Wellcome Foundation, Promega, and the Sea-Changers Organization. She also took notes during weekly team meetings, worked on the entrepreneurial plan for the project, and collaborations with the Manchester and Stuttgart iGEM teams.

Anna M. Anna worked on funding applications (impact grant, Wellcome, etc.). Coordinated interviews with industry stakeholders (YUN, Mama Kuleana, and Dr. Miguel Barbosa), KCL partnership, and collaborations with the University of Manchester, University of Stuttgart, and the University of New South Wales. She also worked on creating content for our team surveys and entrepreneurship research for Shinescreen.

Anna S. Anna was part of the wet lab team this year, undertaking out the ex-silico lab-based side of the project. This involved PCR, Gibson Assembly, minipreparation of plasmid DNA, restriction digest and transformation of plasmids. Analytical techniques including gel electrophoresis, DNA quantification and sequencing were also carried out. Anna was responsible for much of the calculations and maths necessary for carrying out the laboratory work. She also helped research grants to finance the project and worked on the Sea Changers grant application, which we were successful in securing.

AJ As a wetlab member of the team, AJ helped to carry out procedures such as bacterial transformation, DNA quantification, PCR experiments, and growing up bacterial cultures. AJ also played a key role in creating the team’s collective lab notebook and noting down any experimental procedures undertaken, and they were additionally responsible for organising and managing any sequencing orders to Eurofins Genomics. In addition to their involvement in the laboratory, AJ also helped the human practises team to interview Ingmar Claes (a bioengineer and Chief Scientific Officer at YUN Probiotherapy, a probiotic cosmetics company) and Dr Miguel Barbosa (a behaviour, evolution, and ecology lecturer and researcher from the University of St Andrews) in order to gain more ideas and advice concerning the implementation of our project into the real world. AJ also managed the team’s iGEM twitter account, helped the team apply for grants (such as the GenScript grant), and they were also responsible for managing the team’s overall finances.

Maia Maia worked on plasmid selection, codon optmisation of the NRPS gene part, and primer design for Gibson Assembly. Was a part of the wetlab team, and conducted PCR gene amplification, Gibson Assembly, and bacterial culturing. In the wetlab Maia also analysed sequencing results, predicted protein structures, and uploaded new parts onto the iGEM parts registry. Similarly, she also applied for funding grants and wrote up the title and abstract for our project.

Shagun Shagun created team graphics and illustrations for media and the wiki, worked on ethics applications, and the team promotional video. She heavily researched the reef-friendly sunscreen stakeholders’ market, and other available marine safe products. Another area she worked on was budget planning, funding and scholarship applications.

Chloe Chloe did lots of work for our project in education, outreach, and ethics! She worked on ethics applications with Shagun for our team surveys and stakeholder interviews, and made our new team logo and project timeline. In the realm of education, she formulated lesson plans about synthetic biology and sunscreen for primary school-aged kids, and did research on reef-safe sunscreen alternatives for mum and baby groups. Chloe also headed our social media posts on both Instagram and Facebook, organised the KCL collaboration (for education materials) with Anna M., and met with our supervisor Chris about past modelling work.


Dr Jacqueline Nairn – our PI and Lab Supervisor, and also the Biology Director of Teaching and a Senior Lecturer at the University of St Andrews. Dr Nairn imparted a great deal of practical advice, supervised much of our research in the lab, and gave valuable support for the wetlab component of our project. Dr Nairn also gave much general support, organising lab access for us over the summer, signing important documents (such as ethics application forms), offering fundraising help and advice, and reviewing our presentation for the UK Virtual iGEM Meet-up hosted by KCL.

Dr Chris Hooley – our PI, and also a Senior Lecturer in theoretical condensed matter physics at the University of St Andrews. Dr Hooley attended our weekly team meetings, always making sure we were up to date with deadlines, and he offered much general support/project support and advice. He also reached out to various schools at the University of St Andrews to request financial support on behalf of our team, which we are very grateful for.

Dr Simon Young – our Lab Supervisor, and an Associate Lecturer in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology and Virology/Microbiology. Dr Young supervised a great deal of our research in the lab, imparting much theoretical knowledge and practical advice, and he was always on-hand to help us analyse our results. Simon also proved very helpful in obtaining vital laboratory equipment (such as LB broth and ampicillin/kanamycin plates), and teaching us how to use complex equipment, such as the NanoDrop Spectrophotometer.

Teresa Filipa Guerreiro MacHado – a PhD student at the University of St Andrews. Teresa helped to supervise us in the lab, offering useful advice when it came to following protocols, planning experiments, and designing primers.

Dr Frances der Weduwen – an Associate Lecturer in Cell Biology and Biochemistry at the University of St Andrews. Fran supervised us in the lab, offering project support and helping us to conduct experiments and review our results.

Lianne Baker – Centre for Biological Diversity Administrator at the University of St Andrews. Lianne gave our team much fundraising help and advice, helping us to process grant payments, make lab equipment orders, pay registration fees, and organise stipend payments.

Margaret Wilson – BSRC (Biomedical Science Research Complex) Administrator at the University of St Andrews. Margaret gave our team much fundraising help and advice, helping us to manage our incomings and outgoings, process grant payments, set up sequencing and lab equipment orders, pay registration fees, and organise stipend payments.

Dr Shirley Graham – Research and Teaching Technician at the University of St Andrews. Dr Graham was very generous in supplying our team with pETDuet-1 and pRSFDuet-1 plasmids, DH5α E. coli cells, and competent BL21 E. coli cells. Shirley also helped our team to send sequencing orders to Eurofins Genomics via her account, and she offered support in analysing the subsequent results.

Dr Magnus Alphey – School of Biology Health and Safety Coordinator at the University of St Andrews. We are very grateful to Dr Alphey for giving our wetlab team a health and safety talk on our first day in the lab, outlining key policies and procedures that we’d have to adhere to over the summer.

Dr Christopher Moffat – Academic and Government Key Account Manager representing Scotland for Promega Corporation. Dr Christopher Moffat gave much virtual support when our team ordered Promega supplies for our lab (having received a grant from the Promega Corporation). Chris also visited our iGEM team at St Andrews during the summer to offer career advice and general project support.

Professor Terry Smith and his team at the Biomedical Science Research Complex at the University of St Andrews. We are very grateful to Professor Terry Smith and his team for lending us some Gibson Assembly Master Mix. Technical support: Mr Ashley Pearson – Technician at the University of St Andrews.

Mr Christopher Simmons-Riach – Teaching Laboratory Technician at the University of St Andrews.

Mr Duncan Laird – Teaching Laboratory Technician at the University of St Andrews.

Our team is incredibly grateful to Ash, Chris, and Duncan for supervising our work in the lab and helping to provide vital laboratory equipment for us.

Interviewees: Dr Ingmar Claes – Chief Scientific Officer at YUN Probiotherapy. Our team is incredibly grateful to Dr Ingmar Claes for providing us with insight into the sustainable probiotherapy industry, and for giving us valuable information about the bioengineering aspect of probiotic formulas.

Richard (Rick) Babel – CEO of Mama Kuleana. We are very grateful to Rick for sharing information about his typical consumer base, and for giving us advice on how to market our product and interact with potential consumers in order to grow our brand.

Dr Miguel Borges Da Costa Guint Barbosa – Associate Lecturer at the University of St Andrews. We are very grateful to Dr Miguel Barbosa for providing a realistic picture of the climate and biodiversity crisis to us, and the role that a reef-safe sunscreen might play in changing/reinforcing public attitudes towards living sustainably.

Public Engagement: Calum McAndrew - Public Engagement Officer at the University of St Andrews. Calum played a central role in our team’s public engagement efforts by passing on our educational materials for use in Explorathon, helping our team create educational videos, and imparting useful advice about working with children of different age groups.

Dr Kirsty Ross - Public Engagement Officer at the University of St Andrews. We thank Kirsty for her brilliant advice on producing educational materials that are targeted towards specific age groups and demographics.