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Imperial iGEM 2014


iGEM is a competition but science by its nature is a collaborative endeavour. Over the summer we were in contact with several other iGEM teams. We also attended a UK meet of teams to present the progress of our project.

Key Achievements

  • Attended and presented at YSB2.0
  • Had a Skype meeting with UCLA and set up a collaboration
  • Contacted by Stanford-Brown-Spelman and exchanged protocols
  • Created a model for the London BioHackspace iGEM team

YSB 2.0

We participated in the second YSB conference sponsored by the Wellcome Trust and UCL. It was a great opportunity to meet up with some of the British teams and SDU-Denmark as well as make some new friends. All the teams presented the progress of their projects so far as well as displaying a poster. It was excellent practice for Boston, given that there are no Regionals this year.

Laura presenting our project
Discussion with London Biohackspace in-front of our poster
Haroon participating in the science communication workshop

UCLA - Manufacturing Biomaterials

As kombucha is a big deal on the West Coast, the UCLA team sent us this picture from their local Wholefoods.

Just after we decided on our project, we stumbled upon UCLA’s iGEM website. We discovered that they were also working on exciting biomaterials. For them, it was spider silk production and functionalisation, in much the same fashion as our work with cellulose. Despite the differences in our chosen material building blocks, our overall goals were similar. Thus, a collaboration was only natural.

As part of our collaboration we wanted to bring all the iGEM teams a bit closer together. We invited them all to join a place where all the teams can discuss openly about aspects of their projects and the competition in general. We hope that it will provide a communication platform not only for the competing teams, but also for people that seek to participate in iGEM in the future.


Social media brought us to our second collaborator. After seeing a picture of our raw bacterial cellulose posted on Twitter, the Stanford-Brown-Spelman (SBS) iGEM team approached us. Our email exchange led to a fruitful Skype meeting and the exchange of protocols for cellulose growth and processing.

Both of our teams are working on bacterial cellulose, but at the same time we are participating in different tracks and have completely different approach on applications. While we are looking into water filtration, SBS is looking into building biosynthetic Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).


We helped Edinburgh iGEM with their policy and practices project through a short Skype meeting about our team structure and dynamics.

London BioHackspace

The London BioHackspace, a community lab based in Hackney, London fielded their first ever iGEM team this year. Their project also involved bacterial cellulose, but focussed on using it as a medium with which to 3D print objects. We produced a model to simulate the 3D shape of their bacterial cellulose (BC) sculpture. More information about this can be found on the modelling page.