Our project in a nutshell
The 2014 EPFL iGEM team has been working on showing that biologically engineered organisms can detect and process signals quickly and efficiently. With this in mind, our team brought forward a novel idea: combining protein complementation techniques with biosensors to achieve fast spatiotemporal analysis of cell responses to stimuli. In other words, we fused complementary reporter protein fragments to interacting proteins. The presence of a given stimulus leads to the interaction of the proteins of interest thus allowing the fused split complements to re-acquire their functional conformation and emit signal. We thereby are able to detect signal dynamics by relying on much faster post-transcriptional modifications rather than slow traditional reporter transcription.
As a proof-of-concept, we aimed to develop the first BioPad: a biological trackpad made of a microfluidic chip, touch-responsive organisms and a signal detector. To make our organisms touch-sensitive, we engineering two stress-related pathways in E. coli and S. cerevisiae. As for the reporter proteins, we worked mainly with fluorescent proteins but also implemented a split luciferase complementation assay. To learn more about the various components of our project, check out our overview section, as well as the different parts submitted by our team. If you are a judge, you might also be interested in our results page, our data page and our judging form.
Stress responsive bacteria
Find out how we took advantage of the Cpx pathway and split IFP1.4 to give birth to bacteria emitting fast signals in response to chemical and mechanical stresses!
Our Biopad is implemented in a microfluidic chip. This tool allows all kinds of analytical experiments and is increasingly used in biological research. From fabrication to applications, find out more about this awesome device here!
Our project is well suited to show the general public the power of synthetic biology. Find out how we introduced this domain to the younger generation, and how they developed their own mini iGEM projects to tackle everyday problems with enthusiasm and creativity.
MEET OUR TEAM
We are a group of 13 students from the faculties of Life Sciences & Technologies and Computer Sciences, and are supervised by 2 EPFL professors, 1 Lecturer and 5 PhD students.