Open Insulin meeting June 7th

Our next meeting is on June 7th, 8 pm @ ReaGent. Maybe we will have to move to a location close by, as we are in the process of moving.

I though I’d share a tentative agenda beforehand:

  • Rita made an overview of the requirements for starting the lab work, here. How do we put together the funds and who has materials to donate?
  • Lab work planning for when the plasmids arrive
  • Who will be our science lead, making sure we do the right experiments?
  • Microfluidics: building, next steps, gathering materials

Pleaase add to these is anything is missing. Are there things to be discussed about the education / communication? @NiekD | @CatherineS | @Angela_Pisani | @Scigrades

Notes June 7th

Meeting 07.06.2017 at Timelab, Ghent

Present: @flinty | @BramDeJaegher | @GLS9000 | @ritavht | Wim | Simon | @Michielstock  | @WinniePoncelet  

Notes (can also be found on the Drive here)



Lab work / arrival of samples


Rita posted a list of things to order on the Drive here, as the samples (spotted plasmids) are about to arrive.

Shee and Federica also posted some useful protocols.

Bram: what is the lifetime of the plasmids when they arrive?

Federica: they keep a long time, but it’s best to resuspend them and store in a -20°C freezer. Part of them should be used to transform the bacteria and freeze those at -80°C in a glycerol stock.

Open Biolab has most things equipment/some consumables available to do the transformation, as well as storage. The option of getting an own -80°C freezer (Wim knows of one) is not ideal right now - high electricity use and it’s very big/heavy for just storing a few samples. It will be simpler to do it at a uni for now.

We will need about €400 (minus materials we can find ourselves) to get started with the lab work. Rita should be able to order them and she will see which materials we already have/can get elsewhere. If you have something from this list to contribute, get in touch with Rita.

Winnie can get us underway with some of the money he got from the OpenCare Fellowship. Michiel will look into reusing leftover budget from iGem. Then the next iGem team can also use Open Insulin for their project.

Some thoughts on BL2 lab: as Open BioLab is not always open (they close over the summer), a backup option would be handy. Michiel and Wim will ask around. From October (if all goes to plan), we could use Wim’s new lab if needed. Using a lab is mainly about permission, safety and legal reasons are no obstacle (see OBL).

Road map / science

Federica and Bram will put their heads together to come up with a road map for the science and lab work. Concrete milestones would make the plan better. A first step is already clear: replicating the Oakland work with the plasmids we receive. Although our work can be more useful on downstream processing, this way we gain experience, prove reproducibility and have a reference point for when we change the construct. After that, the roadmap and milestone should offer us some focus, as there are many options to test (different organisms, different linkers, microfluidics optimization, …)

There are already plenty of papers on the Google Drive, thanks to the work of the teams in Oakland and Sydney.



On testing multiple conditions: Wim mentioned the work of Peter Schotte with 3D printed caps for shaking flasks that are a simple, cheap way for changes in conditions. Bram: if we get the microfluidics device working, they could also be used for this.

 Bram did research on the OpenDrop device, to figure out how to get started and the feasibility. His impression was that it’s not so well documented in order to build one ourselves. We can however buy a finished device for €500.

  • The components cost about €90 (chinese, not considering import tax)
  • Theyy have to be soldered, it’s a complex chip. A service could do it, but that would be minimum €200 (transport and logistics will also make this more expensive and cumbersome)
  • In total it would be minimum €350, but there are plenty of uncertainties and risks


In order to continue, we really need to find people with more knowledge, have a better view of the possibilities. We can use the hackathon in Amsterdam for this. There will be many experts present, as well as the chips of We can try to do some of the experiments we will do with the plasmids, on the chips. Designing or working on the chip itself however, is not the goal or something we have the right skills for.


Who wants to join us for the biohackathon? We can get 4-5 people together. You can reply in the thread here:


Card game idea for communication: the others were not present. Guido mentioned that the Diabetes Liga has a card game, worth checking out.

Boardgame (Kwartet)


I have an update on the boardgame that we have at the Diabetes Liga, it just tackles two subjects, i.e food and excercise. So, a boardgame on diabetes could still be useful :wink: