Medals and Awards


AwardedTop Ten Overgraduate
AwardedGold Medal
NominatedBest Biomanufacturing Project
NominatedBest Presentation
NominatedBest Wiki
NominatedBest Sustainable Development Impact

Bronze Medal

Criterium Description
Competition Deliverables

We completed the Wiki, Project Promotion Video and Judging Form. We are looking forward to our Team Presentation at the Giant Jamboree.

Project Attributions

We specified each team member's role in the project realization and outlined the specific input of each external help on the attribution page.

Project Description

Bringing synthetic biology into the construction industry quickly caught our interest as our team member Pablo, an architecture student, introduced to us the sustainability issues the field is currently facing. While the demand for better insulation is rising, associated-waste disposal is an increasing burden on the environment. We decided to tackle the challenges of increasing insulation sustainability and easing energy scarcity with our solution: HESTIA.


Find out about what we have prepared to make the lives of future iGEM teams easier.

Silver Medal

Criterium Description
Engineering Success

In the course of our iGEM project, we faced many troubleshooting challenges, and therefore we went through many engineering cycles, so-called Design-Build-Test-Learn cycles, from the aerogel and protein production to the binding of the proteins to the aerogel.


In collaboration with the UNILausanne and UZH teams, we hosted the first swiss synthetic biology meetup under iGEM. We also collaborated with the UCPH and Vienna teams also working on silk to share resources and experiences. Additionally, we participated in the development of Sheffield’s bioinformatics toolbox by being beta testers and giving frequent feedback.

Human Practices

Through interacting with our stakeholders, we created a respectful and realistic design that actually helps answer the needs of all users along the supply chain. These interactions indicated an acute need to develop better energy efficiency solutions with sustainability concerns in mind.

Proposed Implementation

Discover how our project would be implemented in the real world.

Gold Medal

Criterium Description
Integrated Human Practices

The feedback of our stakeholders guided us through different steps of the project, in particular: the design process with the addition of a hydrophobic protective layer to cellulose aerogel, through our implementation in the real world for instance by targeting the renovation industry and through the definition of sustainability goals for the insulation material to meet.

Project Modeling

Our models allowed us to predict both engineering and implementation parts of our project. We predicted the structure of our recombinant fusion proteins and determined the molar quantity needed for sufficient coating of aerogel material while minimising protein waste. Also, thanks to a house model, we determined an optimal aerogel thickness providing excellent thermal insulation with impactful energy saving.

Proof of Concept

Our proof of concept relies on three parts : (1) manufacturing a thermally insulative cellulose aerogel, (2) expressing proteins which can bind it and (3) testing the final coated aerogel to show an enhancement of its properties.

Education & Communication

During the Summer School event at EPFL, we offered high school students the opportunity to spend a day discovering synthetic biology and laboratory work. We also organized a simulation of a Swiss parliamentary session, during which the participants debated on energy and the use of GMOs. In addition to this, we organized and presented iGEM, synthetic biology and our project to an external audience during the Swiss Synbio Meetup.