iGEM THESSALY

iGEM
THESSALY

iGEM Thessaly is an interdisciplinary team of young researchers from various departments
of the University of Thessaly. The team's goal is to participate in the global competition
iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine), an organization related to the promotion
of new and innovative ideas in the field of synthetic biology invented by the MIT.

PREVIOUS GOLDEN
PROJECTS

2023

oPHAelia

Imagine a world where waste becomes a resource, and a local environmental burden transforms into a global solution. Our project, oPHAelia,bridges the gap between two pressing issues: Olive Oil Mill Wastewater (OMW) and the plastic pollution crisis. OMW is a toxic by-product of olive oil production. Greece is the third-largest olive oil producer globally, and in our region, Thessaly, OMW poses a significant problem due to the substantial quantities generated every year. The absence of effective OMW management methods has posed challenges for olive oil producers, often resulting in improper disposal that threatens the environment. Recognizing these problems, we proposed a solution: oPHAelia, an innovative approach relying on a synthetic consortium comprised of two bacteria, Escherichia coli BL21 (DE3) and Pseudomonas putida KT2440, with the dual objective of detoxifying OMW and harnessing the waste’s potential to produce a high-value product, called Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs). PHAs are a family of biodegradable polyesters that resemble synthetic plastics, offering a promising solution to the global plastic pollution crisis.

2022

Navanthus

Our goal is the development of a universal monitoring and phytoremediation approach in eutrophicated waters. The monitoring system will evaluate the ecological status of the water body and wherever it indicates critical levels of eutrophication, a Constructed Floating Wetland (CFW) will be implemented. The CFW will be made of mycelium, a biodegradable material, and it will carry genetically engineered plants for phosphorus removal from water bodies. After bioremediation, the plants' aboveground parts will eventually be collected and converted into fertilizer.

2021

Amalthea Phase II

Amalthea is a complete, personalized, modular platform, which provides diagnosis, evaluation of the gut flora, and treatment of IBDs. A non-invasive encapsulated detection module, consisting of a genetically engineered bacteria-based system and an electronic system, will identify metabolite deficiencies directly correlated to IBDs, that may lead to malnutrition. Exploiting a bio-electronic interface to enable real-time monitoring on the patient’s smartphone. Based on this personalized data, a biosynthetic module will respond with selective production of the missing metabolites, thus eliminating that nutritional deficit and relieving the patient of the symptoms. Our product is designed according to healthcare experts and international standards, to ensure bio-safety.

2020

Amalthea Phase I

Amalthea is a complete, personalized, modular platform, which provides diagnosis, evaluation of the gut flora, and treatment of IBDs. A non-invasive encapsulated detection module, consisting of a genetically engineered bacteria-based system and an electronic system, will identify metabolite deficiencies directly correlated to IBDs, that may lead to malnutrition. Exploiting a bio-electronic interface to enable real-time monitoring on the patient’s smartphone. Based on this personalized data, a biosynthetic module will respond with selective production of the missing metabolites, thus eliminating that nutritional deficit and relieving the patient of the symptoms. Our product is designed according to healthcare experts and international standards, to ensure bio-safety.

2019

Odyssee

A modular platform for instant diagnosis of Tuberculosis. Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the 10 deadliest diseases worldwide, causing around 1.3 million deaths in 2017 and nearly 3 million people are left undiagnosed, each year. Once Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which causes the disease, dies in a patient’s lung, it releases DNA fragments into the blood that eventually appear in urine. We developed a diagnostic test that detects these fragments by targeting the specific gene IS6110. After 4 rounds of amplification including isothermal amplification, in vitro transcription/translation of a toehold switch and a colorimetric readout enabled by b-lactamase, the results can be visualized with a naked eye. Our design can be easily implemented for several diseases due to its universality and modularity. As TB is a leading health threat for populations affected by crises, our test is destined to be applied in refugee camps in Greece, as well as worldwide, making a step towards achieving universal health coverage.