We had an insane month of August without rest with a lot of events, and firstly, the main event of August was the Mediterranean meet-up organised and hosted by our team iGEM Aix-Marseille University. We invited iGEM teams from France and around the Mediterranean see. Thus, we were fortunate to have Bordeaux team, Valencia team from Spain and the representant of Israël team here in Marseille.
We start a collaboration with Evry iGEM team in France. They asked to us to help them to characterised their enzyme and in exchange they are actually helping us with the Human Pratices side of our project so… to be continued.
We did early tests on a specific plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, in lab so we are glad to have had the occasion to do it and we are waiting for the results and we hope that it will be positif !
Finally, August and the beginning of September marks the end of the WetLab. That was an amazing experience, some people of the team was in lab during 3 months, that wasn’t easy everyday but they didn’t regret these last months.
This month, we had a chance to give an interview to a local newspaper, « Var Matin », to talk about our project, who we are and what are our goals. We are on the cover page ! Then, we were looking for people opinion about the project KillXyl and synthetic biology in general. So, we made a survey and we asked you questions and we have had really interesting response.
We start to discuss with some other team about collaboration especially with the Valencia team in Spain. It was a great call and we had good results from that. We hope we can work together shortly.
The main event we’ve done this month was the 3rd Parisian Meet-up, in Paris between most of the french iGEM team. We’ve represented Aix-Marseille University, we have presented our project and discovered the others. That was a great training for Boston and such a great experience.
Finally, we keep it up the good work in wetlab, we continue to test a lot of things, we love working in lab, even if sometimes it’s difficult. We went to the "Moulin a Huile de Velaux in order to get some dirt, this will help us to ensure the longevity of our product. Advancements are real, slowly, but surely.
This month we went to the "Salon de l'agriculture" at Salon-de-Provence. This gathering unite farmers and olive growers from all over France, in order to acknowledge and advise people on the current development in farming sectors. This event allowed us to took notice of their awareness about Xylella fastidiosa and we talked about what kind of product would fit their needs (injection, vaporisation..).
Along this month, we started the wetlab. We produced some construction and we received some of our sequence design. We loved to truly experience working in a lab. Moreover we had a lot of fun with dry ice.
One of our team members went to Bristol in order to meet the Bristol iGEM Team. This opportunity help us to found out each other's projects.
Finally, we showed our project in front of the whole Institut de Microbiologie de la Méditerranée (IMM). This presentation was in front of more than 50 researchers. Fortunately, our general feedback was great and it seems that we are going the right way.
This month we saw the fruition of our designs and the beginning of our construction plan. It was rough, we thought through every detail of our scheme. On top of that, we had to studies for the final exam. However, we manage to power through and succeed. In addition, we got a lot further with the human practice axe of our project, as we realise surveys intended for olive growers. Thus, those data will help us understand their views in regards of our design. Thereby, how to meet their expectation.
We participated to the March for Science in Marseille. We found it important to show our support to science, institutions and the role they play in improving our society through inovation. We think that encouraging scientific research is an investment for future generations.
This month we got the pleasure to interview Mireille Ansaldi a researcher at the Laboratoire de Chimie Bactérienne (LCB) at the IMM, CNRS, Marseille. She is a specialist in bacteriophages and works on phages-host interaction. She also studies Xylella fastidiosa bacteriophages. Mireille Ansaldi gave us precious information and guided us in the use of biocontrol phages.
Along this month we began working on multiple axes to find a solution for X. fastidiosa. The first was a quorum sensing system against this bacterium to disturb the growth of the bacteria. We choose also to study bacteriophage as a biocontrol tool. At last, we aim to target the toxin-antitoxin system, which regulates the synthesis of biofilm.
We started exploring the human practice side of our project to help us in our research. Indeed, we are attached to find an environmentally friendly and non GMO cure for the olive trees. So we contacted Afidol, an association of olive growers, to understand their needs and the expectation they have. This month, we also choose the logo and the project name: "Kill Xyl".
February was the beginning of our journey in the iGEM competition and the Aix-Marseille team was created. We had some heated discussion when it was time to choose the project. But we decided to fight against Xylella fastidiosa, because of the millions of plants being wiped out by this deadly bacterium and the risk of an uncontrollable spread of the bacterium. We preferred to target the strain X. fastidiosa pauca because this strain is the one ravaging olive trees in Italy and is coming to France.