Student team receives award for biosensor concept

2 min read

A team consisting of students from LUH and MHH, who spent a year researching synthetic biology, implant research and modeling at the Lower Saxony Center for Biomedical Engineering, Implant Research and Development (NIFE), was awarded a prize for their concept for a biosensor in this year's iGEM competition.

Every year, around 250 international student groups present their projects in the field of synthetic biology as part of the iGEM competition. 16 students* from LUH and MHH under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Heisterkamp and Dr. Kalies presented their project at the competition days in mid-November. The team was awarded a gold medal for their sensor concept and nominated for a special prize. All team members participated in the competition for the first time.

The team at NIFE has developed a cell-based sensor designed to detect inflammatory toxins. The origin of these toxins are bacterial colonies that settle on the implant surface after the insertion of medical implants. Such toxins can trigger serious diseases. With the sensor, the team enables a non-invasive detection of the bacterial colonies and thus increases the chance for a successful therapy.

The students also thought extensively about science communication and systems modeling in synthetic biology. As a result, a board game for students was created that teaches the basics of cell biology in a playful way. Other students developed a numerical model to simulate bacterial colonies.

The project is described in detail on the team's website ( documented. For the first time, a project from Hannover was awarded a gold medal. Previously, LUH students* from Hannover took part in the competition in 2014 and 2016.

Below, the iGEM team from Hannover 2020.

From left to right Back row: Thorben Klamt, Timm Landes, Jan Mairose, Lara Gentemann, David Theidel, George Dati, Jonas Scholz.

From left to right front row: Anna- Charleen Wessel, Lisan Püttmann, Louise Schaar, Pia Peppermüller, Sören Donath, Celine Beckhausen, Fiene Daniel, Stefan Kalies.

Not pictured: Alexander Heisterkamp, Laura Wesche, Manmeet Singh.