Team:Wageningen UR/OurJourney

iGEM Wageningen 2021

Our journey

Group Photo

The beginning of Cattlelyst

Wageningen University and Research (WUR) has joined iGEM for numerous years, with each year its own unique team. However, the process of team creation and project definition always follows the same trajectory. At WUR, the supervisors adopt a ‘hands-off’ approach: they only facilitate and do not steer the project. In the very first meeting all interested students come and start with a 60-second pitch. They suggests an iGEM project and talk about the societal impact, mention science and feasibility. Afterwards they decide on their own project and start designing. Alike any year, the WUR iGEM team 2021 did the same and had to cross out several ideas before getting to our project, Cattlelyst! We talked about finding a solution to the nitrogen crisis, as well as preserving the Dutch heather fields. One of our team member, Jenny, our captain, has a farm, thus she informed us that the emissions of pollutants from cattle was a concern. We, the WUR iGEM team 2021, wanted to make sure we helped as many people as we could, therefore we decided to combine all the ideas we just mentioned. Our project, Cattlelyst, was born! With our biofilter for cattle stalls based on a co-culture of two synthetically engineered microorganisms (Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas putida), we wanted to provide a solution tackling many problems at once! A more extensive description of these problems can be found in the Background page.

With Cattlelyst we wanted to bring our Synthetic Biology (Synbio) solution, closer to society and for this we engaged with the public. We talked about iGEM, our project and Synbio in several occasions, spanning all degrees of education. In these moments, we spread awareness on the problematic environmental footprint of cattle livestock and we suggested how to tackle it with the help of the biofilter we developed. However, time constraints limited what we could share in the context of these lectures. Therefore, some enthusiastic team members decided to make use of two additional communication channels in order to tell more about Cattlelyst: this is how the blog “The Cattlelyst’s journey” and our monthly newsletter started! In these we created a space where to keep track of our experience as a team, share progresses, and, as with the lectures, share awareness on Synbio and the relevance of our project.

In this page we will give you an overview of the structure of our blog and newsletter and the type of content you can find in the two.

The Cattlelyst's Journey - Our blog

Our blog was born in January 2021, when we introduced our team to the world! This blog was curated on a monthly basis by our team member Deli with the input of the whole team!

Reading a post will take at most 6 minutes of your time. The topics of the blog posts range from reports on activities we did, to insights into how iGEM develops at Wageningen University.

We described to you our successful simulation of a stakeholder meeting, freshly after conducting it! This experience was important for the development of the integrated human practices of Cattlelyst. Additionally we based one our collaborations on developing a guide on how to organize such a simulation.

Among the posts you can also find pieces depicting a closer picture of our adventures: DO’s and DON’T’s in the laboratory, and a collection of funny moments.

You can read and download the PDF version of our blog below!

The posts of our blog reached a max of 250 views, here’s our most viewed post! Our efforts to engage with a broader audience did not stop here! Keep reading below to learn about our newsletter.

The iGEM Newsletter of WUR team

We wanted to keep our journey well documented and we did so by setting up a newsletter. We have a beautiful collection of our monthly newsletter that has been sent from April 2021 onward, curated by Sophie.

The content of the newsletter provided a complete overview of our monthly updates and progress to the 120 people that subscribed to it. Some sections of the newsletter varied depending on the highlights of the month, like lectures we gave or visits to for instance a farm. However, you could always count on finding in there the updates on our wetlab and computational efforts as well as on the human practices and outreach activities for Cattlelyst. Every email ended with the most liked post of the month! We used the newsletter also for important communication to our network such as the opening of the crowdfunding page.

You can read and download the PDF version of our newsletter below!

About Cattlelyst

Cattlelyst is the name of the iGEM 2021 WUR team. Our name is a mix of 1) our loyal furry friends, cattle, and 2) catalyst, which is something that increases the rate of a reaction. We are developing “the something” that converts the detrimental gaseous emissions of cattle, hence our name Cattlelyst.

Are you curious about our journey? We have written about our adventures in our blog, which you can find here: