"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much". Keeping in mind those words of the American author Helen Keller we started successful cooperation with the team iGEM Patras. Our Partnership began in February and lasted till the Giant Jamboree. We are proud of our excellent teamwork and on this page, we cite all the hallmarks of our partnership.

Organization of Cooperation

As partners, we were able to achieve such results and shape our projects at different stages, thanks to the initial organization of our cooperation. Each team had appointed a member responsible for our communication, so no miscommunication would occur. Weekly calls also took place, in which we discussed different issues, and we organized the most important decisions and our future goals. We had the opportunity to set goals and update them every week, but we also formed a strong relationship.

Below, on our Timeline, you can see the notes of each meeting we had.


Every two weeks, we organized a call with the PIs of both teams. This way they provided us with helpful guidance for our Partnership. Besides the weekly calls, our communication happened with a joint Discord server and via emails. That made our cooperation feel more like a friendly meeting which was essential in our success. At our first meeting, various ideas were proposed, but we quickly realized that not all could be carried out due to the shortage of time and the plethora of other responsibilities we had.

Let us walk you through the ones we decided.


One of the most essential responsibilities a Greek iGEM team has is to find enough resources for its Fundraising. Firstly, our team conducted Fundraising training for iGEM Patras. We aimed to help them think outside of the box, find different sources to manage their lab expenses, and other ways to approach the companies in their contact list. Before starting their calls with the companies we even did some mock calls in order to prepare them for their discussions.

According to iGEM Patras, these activities helped them a lot to “be confident and have the necessary knowledge to deal even with the most distrustful sponsors, we were very pleased when we realized that Pfizer has sponsored both our teams”. Moreover, we helped them to use the WebRescom platform, designed by "Special Account of Research Funds" to manage their expenses.

Graphic Design

As our Partnership should be mutual, iGEM Patras graphic designer provided us with some very insightful training in Adobe illustrator. He gave us advice on how to use it and shared with us some tips that make graphics designs impressive! Our Dry Lab teams kept in touch for several weeks in order to solve any problem that arose and they ended up sharing innovative ideas about graphic designing. It is worth mentioning that we designed together the posters and graphics needed for our common events.

Wet Lab

Throughout these months, we helped each other accelerate our projects by widening wet lab methods. Even if we are assigned to the same track in iGEM Competition, we used different laboratory methods. Thus, iGEM Patras welcomed us in their laboratory in order to train us on the procedure of eukaryotic cells’ culture.

Although these operations require delicate handling, we ended up with satisfactory results. After discussing some of the problems we faced in our wet lab procedures, we troubleshot together with iGEM Patras. Firstly, we managed to improve the PCR yield by increasing the annealing and denaturation temperature, as iGEM Patras suggested. What is more, they recommended increasing the incubation time of digestions with restriction enzymes, in order to receive higher amounts of cleaved product.

However, our wet lab teams did not end their collaboration at this point. As far as their team’s project is concerned, they discussed with Professor Vizirianakis, our team’s PI, because they were searching for an alternative way to evaluate the CYP2D6 enzyme expression. They found out that microRNA hsa-miR-370-3p suppresses the expression and induction of CYP2D6, based on previous studies. We agreed that the Toehold Switch could be useful for the detection of this microRNA. So, our team designed the appropriate toehold switch sequence for the miRNA of interest. We also showed them how to clone the Toehold Switch in the bacteria they used and how they can isolate it. This is something that occurred during their visit to our laboratory in which they learned about our wet lab procedures.

Dry Lab

One of our team's future steps is to quantify the eGFP-generated fluorescence using an Arduino software system. So, we discussed some problems that our dry lab subteam faced on our Machine Learning approach. We explained our project to them and how we intend to implement Machine Learning algorithms, and they suggested using the Random Forest Regressor that tends to perform better with small datasets. Also, as part of our collaboration upon public engagement, the dry lab of each team developed an educational biology quiz game using the Scratch framework, addressing High School students.

For more information, you can visit the Science Communication and Public Engagement section of this page:

Science Communication and Public Engagement

Human Practices

A big part of our cooperation was the organization of Human Practices actions. Keeping in mind that both teams aim to create a diagnostic tool, we brainstormed to find scientists that we could approach to determine the steps needed to implement our diagnostic tools in society.

We were curious whether government associations could approve the diagnostic tool we are designing so we thought it could be beneficial to set up an interview with the National Organization for Medicines and the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

We got in contact with Mr. Iordanis Gravanis, Head of Office in the Scientific Advice and Scientific Evidence Generation Department at the European Medicines Agency, who pointed out that any innovative technology related to drug development is thoroughly examined to get approval since a cost-saving and easy tool that helps doctors would be very beneficial. Thus, Mr. Iordanis from EMA urged us to think of ways that could make our tools attractive and valuable for adopting them in clinical practice.

Moreover, our discussion with the National Organization for Medicines concerned the process needed for a diagnostic tool to be approved. Ms. Virginia Safra, who is Deputy Head of the Medical Devices Assessment Department at the National Organization for Medicines, gave us advice and she highlighted that each project could be a possible diagnostic tool for future clinical practice.

Lastly, the iGEM Patras team approached our PI, Dr. Vizirianakis, searching for an alternative way to evaluate the CYP2D6 enzyme expression. They agreed that the Toehold Switch could be useful for the detection of this microRNA. So, we designed the appropriate toehold switch sequence, as we mentioned previously.

The significant contribution of our PI's in shaping both our collaborative work and our projects was important throughout the year. They helped us contact experts in the field in order to organize our common Human Practices. Moreover, we discussed wet and dry lab issues with them to determine our next steps. Last but not least, they helped us a lot in the events we organized as they presented their scientific work. As our scientific fields have many similarities, we hope that will continue our Partnership outside iGEM Competition.

Science Communication and Public Engagement

A significant goal we set for our Partnership was to promote, as much as we could, the world of Synthetic Biology to people outside the field. We pursued different ways to share biology with the public. In this context, iGEM Patras held the SynBio Academy Podcast. We were really happy to receive an invitation from iGEM Patras to take part in one of their episodes. An episode regarding our project and our Partnership was recorded. To be more specific, we gave information about our diagnostic tool and why it could be important for people with Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma. Moreover, we shared our experience concerning our Human Practices.

Apart from that, promoting Synthetic Biology to Junior High School students proved to be a great idea. So, a computer game was created using the Scratch program. We created two main characters who would embark on a Synthetic Biology journey. In their way, they come across different questions. Both Dry Lab subteams cooperated for the programming of the game. We worked together to find the best questions to get the students' attention and provide them with some helpful knowledge while keeping it fun!

Pathes' SynBio Adventures was designed for Junior High School students and specifically, there are different levels for each class. That does not mean anyone else can not enjoy it.

Why don't you check it out for yourselves?


In order to educate students about synthetic biology, we got in touch with the Experimental School of the University of Patras, the Experimental School of the University of Macedonia, and the Tutorial school for secondary education "Κytaro".

However, the most significant event that we organized together for Public engagement was "It's all about iGEM: A Synbio Day". This event took place in Thessaloniki and it was open to the public. What's iGEM Competition? How can someone join a team? What are the steps that need to be followed until the Giant Jamboree? What problems do iGEM Thessaloniki and iGEM Patras aim to solve through Synthetic Biology? These are only a few of the questions we tried to answer during our event. Through this event, our wet lab teams had the opportunity to raise our guests’ awareness about synthetic biology. After sharing our iGEM experiences, we noticed an increased interest in joining our next year's team. That was when we realized that our goal to inspire and motivate was accomplished.

All of these were made possible because we were able to maintain yearlong successful cooperation. Through our everyday work routine, we were working as a unified team! From having a great time at our Podcast, while organizing activities, educating students, and inspiring young people to embrace science, we are proud to say that we formed a strong Science Community in our respective areas.


Although Partnership is a continuous collaboration activity, it is important to organize together some collaborations in order to communicate our Partnership in other iGEM teams too.

While we were trying to familiarize ourselves with the iGEM competition and its requirements we faced different problems. Thus we organized the collaboration "How to survive iGEM: Greek edition" for the other teams. We discussed a lot with iGEM Alumni, we attended different webinars by iGEM headquarters and after 8-9 months in iGEM Competition, we believe that we now know how to handle it. So we organized a webinar together in which we analyzed useful tips for Fundraising and Graphic designing. It was a unique experience to get in contact with people involved in iGEM Competition all around the world to share ideas about different technical issues.

Moreover, we were interested in organizing a collaboration about Women In STEM. After brainstorming, we created a timeline to honor the contribution of Women in STEM on a larger scale! When we published our idea to social media and the iGEM site, iGEM team ULaval and team Concordia-Montreal approached us to inform us that they also collaborated with a similar subject. Although it was unexpected, we instantly decided to collaborate all together to have an impressive result! Through this procedure, we found out that women are still a minority in academia.

For example, in Western Europe, 21.7% of heads of higher education institutions were female in 2017. iGEM competition gave us the perfect opportunity to celebrate women’s attainments in SynBio worldwide and encourage other aspiring scientists to pursue their dream careers. Thus we organized the Rosalind Chronicles project, a Bulletin Board to honor the contribution of Women in STEM on a larger scale! We asked other iGEM teams to send us a photo of a scientist and a picture of their women teammates. We created a timeline with the names and history of these scientists, to inspire other teams. This collaboration not only highlighted the role of successful women in biology but also, indicated how many women participated in iGEM Competition.

It is important to say that this collaboration ended up with a webinar that was organized by teams of Thessaloniki, Patras, ULaval, and Concordia-Montreal. This event emphasized the role of women in science and their histories. Also, we presented the Rozalind Chronicles timeline during the webinar and focused on the diversity and inclusion topic. This activity aimed to inspire and broaden women's horizons, empower them to believe in themselves, aim higher, and excel in any field of science they put their minds into, no matter their gender.


In this timeline we cite some of our most important meetings in our partnership journey:
You can see the "Minutes" of all our meetings as a whole in the following PDF: