Exchanging ideas and experiences with other teams was a key part of HESTIA. From overcoming our difficulties on silk purification, to organizing the first Swiss synthetic biology meetup we went through iGEM synthetic biology-themed escape games and doing beta-testing for other teams, and our collaborations gave us incredible learning opportunities. As a legacy, we leave iGEM a silk repository of silk proteins characterization and the beginning of what we hope will become a tradition of Swiss iGEM teams collaboration around a synthetic biology meetup.

Swiss SynBio Meetup : UZH, UNILausanne

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Putting a spotlight on synthetic biology and iGEM for the first time in Switzerland.

Together with the UZH and UNILausanne teams, we organized the very first iGEM synthetic biology meetup in Switzerland. The “Swiss SynBio Meetup” allowed us to present iGEM, our own projects, as well as cutting edge research in synthetic biology. PhD candidate Emanuele Boni presented his thesis which focuses on expanding the SynBio toolbox with the generation of a repressilator using the CRISPR technology. The second talk was given by Dr. Edward R.Ballister from New York's Columbia University, who introduced his research on engineering bacteria to deliver therapeutic antibody mimics within solid tumors.

Our aim was to strengthen the collaboration between Swiss iGEM teams and to create a community around synthetic biology in Switzerland. The event was open to everyone, making it simultaneously an educational experience for the general public. A discussion time with an apéro was planned afterwards so anyone could go from booth to booth and engage in in-depth conversation about the presentations they just witnessed.

iGEM Silk Projects Collaboration : UCPH and Vienna

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Come and discover the possibilities behind iGEM silk projects.

Following the spirit of iGEM, HESTIA looked out for other projects centered on silk. This is how we joined the UCPH, Vienna and Exeter teams in a silk protein based collaboration. We met throughout our projects on Zoom, exchanged silk models, properties, and protocols via Drive and campaigned on the possibilities of silk on our social media.

Sharing results and advancements on our projects gave us a better understanding of silk proteins. The core of our collaboration was the creation of a PDF gathering all the data the EPFL, UCPH and Vienna teams used and created working with silk proteins in the different aspects of their projects. This PDF is available as a preview and for download in the detailed timeline of our collaboration. Overall we built a legacy that will make it easier for future iGEM teams working with silk proteins.

Escape Game : Technion

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Participating in a synthetic biology themed escape game, thanks to which we now get orange juice for breakfast.

HESTIA participated in Technion’s iGEM Challenge. A thrilling escape game whose challenges are built on synthetic biology. The game was engaging, innovative, and put our synthetic biology knowledge to the test. In addition to getting a nice break from the lab, our team finished the game in a proud 17 minutes and 52 seconds. Following the game, we got to exchange with Technion’s team about their iGEM challenge, the thought process behind it, and how it benefited the iGEM community overall. We hope that every iGEM team managed to get the formula to drink special orange juice for breakfast !

Being Beta-Testers for a new Bioinformatics Tool : Sheffield

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During Muenster’s JuniorJam we met the Sheffield team and became beta-testers for their new bioinformatics tool.

During HESTIA’s participation in Muenster's JuniorJam, we had the pleasure to meet Sheffield’s team. They were exploring the difficulties that some teams encountered when trying to use some bioinformatics tools. Some offered incomplete features, while others had a very non ergonomic interface. In an attempt to remedy this problem for the future iGEM teams, Sheffield decided to work on the development of a new, intuitive and complete bioinformatics tool.

Our team became beta-testers and therefore got access to the tool. We sent regular feedback in the form of Google Forms for Sheffield to improve their software. We hope to have contributed to the improvement of synthetic biology softwares, and it would be our pleasure for every future iGEM team to benefit from a more complete and intuitive bioinformatics tool when working on their project.