2021 - BLADEN
Due to climate change, local conditions around the world are changing rapidly. The weather is becoming more unpredictable with large and sudden deviations from stable local conditions. The effects of climate change have a particularly large impact on agriculture and farmers must adapt their crops to these new conditions. Plants are versatile organisms that have an extensive secondary metabolism that allows them to respond to biotic and abiotic stresses, but they cannot adapt and evolve at the same pace as the climate is changing, at least not through classical breeding techniques or on their own.
Team BLADEN tried to circumvent this by developing a semi-rational design method for GMO crop engineering — they were going as far as only needing sequence data and very approximate structures of the proteins that are being targeted. The goal was to evolve and improve plants at a faster pace through this semi-rational design using Continuous Directed Evolution (CDE).
Visit their wiki here.
The KU Leuven already has a long and rich tradition in participating in iGEM. Read here about all previous adventures.
2019 - Ocyano
With Ocyano, the 2019 KU Leuven team is exploring the use of cyanobacteria as a means of photosynthetic biomanufacturing. Global resource depletion poses a threat to our society, creating a strong demand for durable and sustainable solutions within the industry. Inspired by The Sustainable Development Goals, a collection of 17 goals set by the UN towards a more sustainable future by 2030, the team has decided to focus their efforts on Goal 12: Responsible Consumption & Production: “Doing more and better with less.”.
Read the full project description on the team's Wiki here.
2017 - HEKcite
The 2017 team genetically modified Human Embryonic Kidney (HEK) cell to create a steady rhythm using three ion channels. The pace of their biosensor was influenced by varying concentrations of biological effectors, aimed to establish a new way of therapeutic drug monitoring. For this novel idea, the team won the “Best New Application” award.
2015 - Spot E.shape
KU Leuven’s iGEM team of 2015 chose to engage in a project on the regulatory mechanisms of motif formation. They engineered bacteria that were able to communicate and influence each other’s behavior resulting in the assembly of predictable visible patterns. The team won a gold medal and the "Interlab Study Award".
Learn more about their project on the team's Wiki here.