The Team

× Nikita Edel, B.Sc. Biology student

Professional Saftpäckchen supplier and connoisseur of good food and nice drinks. Also introduced us to songs that quicky became our “01:00am still cloning hymn” that got us dancing and singing through the lab.

What was your highlight during the iGEM project?

First time entering the lab I was so excited to start this journey called iGem. As it was my long awaited dream to start a serious science project.

Fun stuff: *comes into the room with a big pack of little juice packets with the biggest smile imaginable*, lives to annoy Selene, has 257 open tabs right now, can touch hot things without getting burned, is indestructible, secretly smirks to Selene’s bad jokes, wakes up like Dracula, needs sunglasses even on a cloudy day but always forgets them in the lab, hates crystals in general and pretends he is not wearing a bracelet made out of them

× Selene Franchini, M.Sc. Biology student

You are such a warm and light-hearted person that is just fun to be around! Even simple things make you laugh for quite some time (like Nikitas's face for example). Somehow, you also end up lying on the floor every single time we went out together.

What was your highlight during the iGEM project?

Definetly when the LowMutT7 genome reduced strain I found on the internet produced BMCs!! 

I was so happy I screamed and I was so glad I did not give them up even though we only had short time for the experiments 

+ finding 2 huge bacteria more than 100 µm long under the fluorescence microscope!!

Fun stuff: purple, everything is purple, pulls immense amounts of dad jokes, the bad ones unfortunately, slight case of OCD, has always a bunch of pens in the lab coat that fall off too often, photographer of the group. Overall, the nice person who remains calm even when the wakes hit the shores hard.

× Johanna Gerstenecker, M.Sc. Biochem. & Biophysics student

It is again and again fascinating, how direct and straight forward you can be (without being insulting tho!). If Johanna says shut up, you shut up! However, you also put a lot of effort into bringing us all together and getting to know each other in the beginning, so you are not innocent in creating this inseparable bunch of iGEMers! You also took us down the rabbit hole of tarot cards, to a point where we really pulled cards each day to determine the future of our daily experiments!

You are a very interesting noncanonical person (noncanonical amino acid haha) and since the beginning I admired your way to be, you are inspiring. Love to exchange gossip with you and spend the wildest nights together

What was your highlight during the iGEM project?

My highlight was seeing all the determination and dedication during the final week of our project. It is incredible how much one team can achieve if everyone is working together.

Fun stuff: has questionable, yet handy stuff in her bag, proud mother of three bachelor students, “guys, you wanna learn about your future?” she says pulling out a bunch of tarot cards as she enters the lab at like 01:00 am, master organizer of organizers, she has her shit together, makes uncredible drawings of all kinds 

× Andreas Riedlberger, M.Sc. Biology student

This is all your fault. It is your fault that I am sitting here, at 4am, waiting to take my next samples while writing this text. You were the one who brought this year's team to life by single headedly setting up an entire team (although, you forgot to invite someone to the initial intro meeting <3, but I forgive you)! You also bring action into our lab, and it would be significantly less fun if you weren't there!

In few words: thank you for dragging us all with you through this experience that let us grow and learn so much, about science and about ourselves.

What was your highlight during the iGEM project?

Seeing how all team members grew together like one big family was amazing. The late nights working in the lab were made so much better by having my friends there!

Fun stuff: “Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck”, has more energy than a car battery, new ideas generator, buffer slave <3, most enthusiastic person you’ll ever know, can get sponsorships out of nowhere by just looking at people, two sips of coffee are already enough to be productive, hates if you spoil him on the results of the trafo – he has to see for himself to feel real satisfaction, always recognizes a mistake before it’s too late

× Anne Frederiksen, M.Sc. Biology student

No matter what kind of shit happens, she keeps calm and does not give up. Hasn’t slept for around 20 hours? No problem. 20th failed PCR? Easy, give it another shot. Has the master plan in her pocket. My highlight with you was the 2 months of quality time in which we sat together in the seminar room alone working quietly. True bonding moment.

What was your highlight during the iGEM project?

whenever someone made coffee :)

Fun stuff: Busy bee, always eats bread with a vegan spreading or honey, also loves nuts. Unfortunately, her suggestion to name the database NoASS was denied. Probably has 1000 tabs open right now and enriches the seminar room with the exhausted sound of her poor MacBook trying to keep up with her. Scheise, hat nicht funkschioniert.

× Michael Spädt, B.Sc. Biology student

Always helpful when you are in need, sees when you are not fine by just looking at you, shy at first, but we let the lion out and now we are stuck with it and it is screaming through the building and dancing in the elevator and making the coolest iGEM video ever. I’m proud of having assisted to your first tequila ever, the boi is growing up!

Rumour has it that he didn't leave the lab in the last week before wiki freeze to finish our final tests just in time!

In addition to his infectious enthusiasm, he also introduced us to many funny memes (many of them homemade) and brightened up the atmosphere with his cheerful and funny manner!

What was your highlight during the iGEM project?

One of our first 48h assays, where we made quesadillas and played mario kart on a huge beamer in the seminar room for hours. I slept a bit too tight this night. 

Fun stuff: sings with an angel’s voice, likes to buy a palm tree or something on the spur of the moment; lives of Baumkuchen, Börek and Brioche; deeper sleep does not exist, randomly throws ice through the lab, started the trend of making funny meme stickers of our team members on whatsapp, is probably at the sonicator right now

× Jonas Widder, B.Sc. Biology student

As our Indigo-mastermind, you just couldn’t stop researching everything that has ever been known about our beloved pathway. However, we still had one underlying problem. Maths. I hope no one will ever discover our first attempts of calculating the required concentrations for literally anything. It was a blessing when we remembered that the rule of three was a thing. Btw. how the **** did you get through iGEM without drinking coffee? Especially during the week before wiki-freeze, where you just coded 24/7 to get this sick wiki done! 

What was your highlight during the iGEM project?

The morning I entered the lab and discovered that our culture flask got blueish, and we produced our first Indigo! First, I didn’t want to believe it and thought my teammates trolled me by colouring the flask themselves xD

Fun stuff: *casually learns wiki design as a side project*, sends you damn long voice messages, probably awake right now, is endangered of having a heart attack when seeing a molecule of caffeine, 

× Jeremy Ranniger, M.Sc. Biology student

You were a bit late to the party, but now it feels like you have been here from the very start! Leon pulled you in halfway through our project and just a few days after that, you already joined our human practices meetings tearing apart everything that we have planned or said. You were the fresh wind that we needed so much! But one thing was clear from the very beginning, you are looking out for everyone, and you have a warm and kind heart, and you make all of us feel that! With you on our side it was clear that we shall nevaaa surrendaaaa.

What was your highlight during the iGEM project?

When I opend my file after 7 days of continous simultion and it didn’t crash and showed continous 

Fun stuff: screaming unintelligible sounds at 2am in the lab, professional puking sound imitator, positive vibes, goblin laugh, changing agarpads at the microscope with the speed of light.

× Fabian Stockert, M.Sc. Biochem. & Biophysics student

You have one of the funniest ways of speaking I have ever heard! On a good day, or especially if someone went on your nerves, it is just incredible fun listening to you. This together with your charming smile makes you perfectly suited for the role of “representative of everything”. During the course of iGEM you have collected quite some titles, for example "inclusion executive", among many. Additionally, as our master of masterplans, you were always someone to ask if one didn't know what to do!

What was your highlight during the iGEM project?

My highlight was when I first saw the intense green fluorescence of our bacteria producing GFP modified with non-canonical amino acids. It was the first prove that our vision became reality. 

Fun stuff: irresistible smile, Master of master plans, grunts energetically whenever seeing Michi, “BMZs”., “Pipettenjunge”

× Leon-Samuel Icking, M.Sc. Biochem. & Biophysics student

One of the rudest people in the vicinity, however, how can you be mad at someone with that moustache and these shirts? Anyhow, it is always fun to be around the meemiest meemer boi in Freiburg. And to our fellow iGEMers, approach him with caution, as here is a word of warning. Do not speak of Jake Wintermute or Ed Yong. You will go down a rabbit hole of unpredictable extent. Get ready to learn all about mussels, the biology twitter-bubble, the eyeballs of animals and #woodgang. Be warned but if you like that stuff, Leon is your man.

What was your highlight during the iGEM project?

My highlight was definetely the European iGEM meetup in Hamburg. It was a great opportunity to meet other passionate iGEMers and feel like a part of the synthetic biology community.

Fun stuff: 0 days without dropping your shit, well dressed and full of anger, meme king, always snacking, has an unconventional way of doing things but still makes them work, can break a glass tube with a plastic pipette, a sign of his immense physical strength.

× Pia Gescher, M.Sc. Biochem. & Biophysics student

The workhorse that keeps the lab tidy and filled up, not only in our iGEM lab but also at her job! Nothing would be washed or autoclaved if Pia was not there, not to mention we would have no antibiotic stocks :) Brings good mood on a cloudy day.

What was your highlight during the iGEM project?

The day we decided what our project would be and everyone felt the hype. And the last days when everything came together and we saw how much we had achieved.

Fun stuff:

Early bird with working hours not comprehensible for night owls. Can shorten her name in the most scientific way.

× Paulina Kaas, M.Sc. Mol.Medicine student


You are pretty much our iGEM therapist and you are more than qualified for this job, as you are the only one that has overcome the PTSD of iGEM to get back and be a supervisor for us! Or maybe it’s just Stockholm syndrome? Anyhow, it is always fun having you around as you are just so damn good at spreading a good mood. 

What was your highlight during the iGEM project?

When Leon destroyed the toilet nest. Also, the final week, when I saw everyone giving their last bit for the project. You guys are inspiring!!

Fun stuff: good mood spreader, lives in two places at the same time, giving your texts that extra *razzle dazzle*. Can chug a hole pint of beer mixed with liquor in less than 3 seconds (a friend told me).

× Barbara Di Ventura, Professor of Biological Signaling Research


No matter what time on what day, Barbara was there to help you, whether you wanted it or not. She always expected us to rise up to new hights, and certainly, her high expectations drove us. Often her ideas and instructions brought our project to new levels as she constantly gave us inspiration and made us rethink what we have done so far. We are very grateful, because without Barbara our project could not have taken place in this form.

What was your highlight during the iGEM project?

I liked the vibe generated by the team throughout the whole time. The students appeared united from the very first meeting! Thus, the whole experience has been just great (ok, yes, there were frustrating moments, too). Nonetheless, the highlight for me was that day when we all started laughing about "going into the BMCs" for a drink later that night :)

Fun stuff:“LB is a mystery that nobody knows what's inside", "My brain is going into glucose deprivation", starts 50% of her messages with “guys...”,

× Nicole Gensch, Manager of the corefacility of CIBSS


Nicole is a true angel, without wings, but instead with a lab that had anything in stock for us in case we, again, realized that we are out of Tryptone. You always had an open ear for us, and you were so good at cheering us up when we felt stressed by our 124332nd unsuccessful cloning attempt.

What was your highlight during the iGEM project?

Every day in the lab brought new surprises, challenges and innovative solutions. It is hard to just choose just one. All in all, seeing how many new skills the team gained during the project was my highlight.

Fun stuff:Always checking in on us, can’t leave her office without being ambushed by at least three desperate iGEMers, has been sent on forced vacation during iGEM as she worked too much

× Pavel Salavei, Postdoc protein laboratory


Here in Germany, we call someone like Pavel “Ehrenmann”. We have just mentioned the word “bioreactor” once, and you were instantly on to prepare that experiment with us. Even if we asked you something at like 02:00am, you were still ready to help us out as soon as possible! It was also a lot of fun examining the “interesting” looking bacterial pellets of the bioreactor that you have put into plastic bags to freeze.

What was your highlight during the iGEM project?

Fun stuff:Dropped in as a supervisor a bit later but is indispensable since that day, has the craziest machines in his lab, super enthusiastic