Team:Bielefeld-Germany/Human Practice/Conventions


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In this section we detail our participation in three different conventions, the impact of those meetings on our project and the scientific and public outreach we were able to achieve.

At the convention Strategic Process Biotechnology2020+ in Berlin we were able to get to know Dr. Falk Harnisch. Being an expert in the field of MFCs, Dr. Harnish has assisted us many times during the course of our work. This cooperation turned out to be fruitful for both sides. For instance, one of the sub-projects suggested by the expert (using riboflavin as an internal mediator) was successfully implemented by our team.

An idea to print a DIY MFC originated during the conversations we had during the BioNRW (PhD) Student convention and was successfully incorporated into our project. We received initial input as well as valuable tips, concerning modeling and 3D-printing of a cell. We stayed in touch with interested participants and received a lot of further helpful advices.

By participation in the events described in detail below, we adressed one of our main goals: explaining our project to a broader scientific public and raising interest in the iGEM competition. Although more than a fifth of the total population of Germany lives in our state ([ NRW]), there are still only two iGEM teams hailing from here. Thus, we hope that we were able to spread the word and raise the interst to start more teams in our state and country.

Strategic Process Biotechnology2020+ in Berlin

The [ German Federal Ministry of Education and Research] invited all German iGEM teams to the [ 4th Strategic Process Biotechnology 2020+] which took place in Berlin on the 27th of July. Every year representatives from academia, industry and politics are invited to discuss the future of biotechnology. This event was created to strengthen and to extend the interdisciplinary collaboration between research organizations and universities. The vision is to develop the next generation of biotechnological processes as well as initiate their realization. This year all German iGEM teams got the chance to present their projects via a poster session and to comprehensively discuss their ideas with the attendants. We sent two members of our team to represent our project in Berlin. At the congress we got in touch with all the other German iGEM teams, had an intensive exchange and discussed the projects. In addition, the German iGEM teams addressed the organization of the Synbioday this year to plan a big campaign of all German iGEM teams. We achieved to organize this event with five other German teams. The information platform [] which is sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research arranged a [,did=164896.html?listBlId=85084& video] about the congress. This video explains what the congress is about and how important it is to have an exchange between the different researchers. At this congress the idea of the principle of a Microbial Fuel Cell as a future innovation was mentioned. This shows how valuable the impact of our results in this field could be.

The Strategic Process Biotechnology2020+ conference was a good chance to meet the other iGEM teams, promote our project and of course to talk with experts from academia, industry and politics. At this event we got in touch with Dr. Falk Harnisch an expert in bioelectrotechnology and bioelectric catalysis. He was the perfect person to ask questions and get feedback about our project. Later we organized a Skype interview and invited him to our institution.

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BIO.NRW PhD Student Convention in Düsseldorf

The iGEM Team Bielefeld got an invitation to the [ 4th BIO.NRW (PhD) Student Convention] at the [ Esprit Arena] in [üsseldorf Düsseldorf]. The two-day event starting on July the 12th was arranged in the VIP-Lounge of this modern Stadium, home of [üsseldorf Fortuna Düsseldorf´s] soccer team. Aimed at life science (PhD) students, the congress presents an excellent chance to meet representatives of industry and academia, get information for a successful career entry as well as to improve soft skills in workshops.

The iGEM Team Bielefeld were invited to present the iGEM competition and its own project as an excellent example of outreaching scientific interest and commitment exceeding the regular academic studies.

The three key-presentations held by renowned guests on the first evening highlighted different aspects of the modern biotechnology. A former Qiagen specialist stressed the importance of initiative: successful examples, along with some pros and cons of a career in a young start-up company were brought to our attention. After the official part a lively informal discussion about future development of the biotechnology industry took place. The supporting program featured a stadium tour, dinner and a relaxed evening on the grandstand. We had an opportunity to obtain a highly positive opinion about our project from specialists and doctoral candidates. We were encouraged to pursue our goal of creating an alternative source of electricity and were reconfirmed in the actuality of the chosen theme.

On the second day numerous workshops focusing on our soft skills were scheduled. Having in mind the importance of a clear and elucidating presentation- both of our project and of iGEM ideas - we have chosen to conduct communication and presentation workshops. These workshops, moderated by professional coaches, were highly informative and well-structured.

We have gained a lot of positive impressions and ideas originated during these conversations. A few held a particularly special meaning to our project; including one that used a 3D-printer to print our cell in plastic. We received a huge amount of support from the participants, starting from hints how a fuel cell can be modeled, up to details concerning the material selection.

The convention was a success for us as a team, as we were able to draw attention to iGEM, our project, and to raise the awareness about synthetic biology based on the parts registry. Participation in this event was also very motivating and informative for us.


All images are used with a kind permission of BIO.NRW.

Congress "60 years of DNA" in Berlin

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The Max-Delbrück-Center for molecular medicine (MDC) in Berlin hosted a congress to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the DNA-discovery by Watson and Crick. We were invited to present the field of Synthetic Biology and the iGEM competition to all visitors. The congress was directed towards the interested public, especially towards students and teachers.
The program held several scientific presentations regarding DNA, open discussions were carried out and workshops brought attendants closer to fields like Synthetic Biology, gene diagnostics and personalized medicine. Among other things addressed subjects were the impact of the DNA discovery, the present methods of modifying it, or the future chances of genetically improved medical treatment.

We presented posters about Synthetic Biology, iGEM in general and gave an in-depth look at our project to interested people. Overall, our booth and the information we tried to pass were perceived very positively and many students or teachers were quite fascinated. We got a lot of positive feedback regarding our MFC project and some undergraduates were highly interested in iGEM itself.

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