iGEM team UPO-Sevilla is one of the smallest team of the 2010 iGEM contest. This is the first time we take part in iGEM and also in Synthetic Biology, so our goal this year is to learn all we can about SB and the tools it uses. This is the reason why some 2nd course biotechnology students started looking for support in the Universidad Pablo de Olavide, in Sevilla (Spain), at the beginning of their course. Luckily we soon found help from Fernando Govantes (Genetic Microbiology) and Luis Merino (Computer Engineering), two of our teachers. With them, we started to think we could take part in this international contest. Next, a student of computer engineering, Eduardo Pavón, completed the team.

In a short time, we started to meet for brainstorming. We got excited about making a project which came from our imagination. And not a few times Fernando had to tell us that our ideas were biologically impossible. Little by little we narrowed the possibilities down to only two ideas: “remote control bacteria” and “targeting bacteria to a non-diffusible target exposed on a surface”. Finally we chose the last one; this idea would take the name of "Bacterial Crowding".

The other jigsaw we had to solve was: “Where were we going to get financing for the project?” In regard to that, we were lucky to meet Rosario Jiménez, OTRI (Oficina de Transferencia de Resultados de Investigación) director. She paid our inscription and also helped us to find sponsors for the remainder of our budget. We have to thank her for her help.

Members & Contact


  • Fernando Govantes Romero. Wet lab leader ( “Blues man”
    Fernan Picture

    Fernando is a Genetic Microbiologist who works in CABD (Centro Andaluz de Biología del Desarrollo). His research deals with molecular mechanism of gene regulation and the study of bacterial biofilm development. Thanks to Fernando, the team had access to a lab where we would develop the project. The students were undergrads, so they could not have access to the lab without his presence. This means that he has been in the lab five days a week, over ten hours a day. iGEM team UPO-Sevilla would not have been possible without him. Thanks Fernan!

  • Luis Merino Cabañas. Dry lab leader ( "The Simulator"
    Luis Picture

    Luis is Assistant Professor at the UPO's School of Engineering. He works in Systems Engineering and Automation, mainly in Robotics. Although his work has few similar things with the science of life, he seemed interested in Synthetic Biology when he knew about it. Soon he had learnt much about the biological part of the project. The nexus between dry and wet lab was thinner because of him. Due to the fact that our DryLab is composed only by two people (Edu and Luis), they are doing a hard work to bring to fruition the modeling issue.


2nd year students of Biotechnology:
  • Adrian Arellano Davín ( "The hairy"
  • Adri Picture

    I really love science especially if it’s related to molecular biology or physics. I’m quite cheerful and enthusiastic and I’m always thinking about new things to do. I also love cinema, rollerblading and playing Go (but I’m not a good player at all). When I finish the degree in biotechnology I'd like to carry on my scientific career in Japan or USA. I think that the iGEM contest gives to all us a fantastic chance of learning a lot about this new science which is called Synthetic Biology.

  • David Caballero Pradas ( "The perfectionist"
    David Picture

    Hello! I am one of those guys who cannot stop. I am always doing something and boredom is not a possibility. I like almost all types of music, but I prefer rock and blues. Also I do like to play my electric guitar or the harm. I practice sport as often as I can; principally I go to the gym, running or rollerblading. But I do not enjoy watching sports on the TV.

    Biotechnology attracted me two years ago, when I had to choose my degree, due to the wide opportunities it offers. I like a lot of different investigation fields like gene regulation or nanoparticles design; most of them in the micro or nano scale. I think Synthetic Biology will help to enlarge the biological knowledge from its standard and modeling point of view.

  • Eva Fernández Cáceres ( "The hippie"
  • Eva Picture

    Eva would like to have lived the summer of love, been born in San Francisco and worn flowers in her hair, but she was born in Seville and she chose science as her way of life. She is a practical girl. If she hadn′t been a girl, she would have been a lovely, big-eyed cat with long whiskers. She likes small things, that′s why she loves studying Biotechnology. She also loves drawing colorful pictures wearing her white scientific coat, because she has an artist′s soul.

  • Paola Gallardo Palomo ( "Efficiency woman"
  • Pao Picture

    Short and bad-tempered. She is keen on “torture” everyone (mice, E. coli, boyfriend, etc.) and fiddle about in the lab. She doesn't respect literary people (they are not science people!), despite the fact that she likes reading philosophy books. When she lay off animals, she listens to British music, most of them unknown, and watching films, self-denominated independent, or action films which main character is a woman. She is a fussbudget of the order, in other words, she likes that everything keeps the order that she decides, otherwise it is recommended to keep at a reasonable distance.

  • Félix Reyes Martín ( "Sleepyman"
  • Felix Picture

    The description of Félix written by himself should appear here. Félix is a great guy, but very lazy (so lazy that his description is not written yet). He is very friendly and polite and he never gets angry (except once somebody kidded about him because he had not beard, and he has not got any beard yet). He loves science and maths specially difficult problems. Actually Félix loves difficult things, "because they are not easy". If you meet him, you will probably think that he is an hybrid between Leonard Hofstadter (but more clever) and Edward Cullen (but he doesn't drinks blood, or at least we think so). To sum up, he is a really good guy.

3rd year student of Computer Engineering:
  • Luis Eduardo Pavón ( "The geek"
    Edu Picture

    First of all, It's hard to describe me in a few paragraphs.

    I like classic rock, although I'm not a music lover. As for sports, I like basketball, but, as I always say: "Running is for the coward". I love reading, among my favourite writers are Terry Pratchett, Asimov, Lovecraft, Tolkien, George R. R. Martin, Saramago...and I'm surely forgetting a few writers more. As any geek worth his salt, I'm also a videogames enthusiast and I enjoy experimenting on light-equipped or wired stuff. I usually meet my friends for a couple of beers (I love beer myself) and we also play roleplaying games every once in a while.

    Finally, I'm the group's programmer. I'm in charge of the Wiki page and the Bacterial Crowding simulation, together with Luis Merino. This is my first contact with Biotechnology but still, I'm delighted with the experience so far.

  • Division of labor

    The whole work have been done by the team members.

    Wet Lab

    • Fernando Govantes has managed the project, from the beginning to the end. Our instructor have taught us the basic rules and protocols which are carried out in a lab and have reviewed the experiments we were doing. He did a quite strong effort continuing the work even in weekends. Without his help we could not have participated in the iGEM contest.
    • The students have been extracting parts from E.Coli genome, building the circuits and devices and measuring chemotaxis behaviour with different assays. Moreover, they have looked for funding financing for the project and the trip, and written huge amounts of information in the wiki. They recognize that the work have been much harder than expected(and much funnier). For more informatioin about the division of labour see in Notebook.

    Dry Lab

    • Our dry lab instructor, Luis Merino, gave us some classes about engineering and informatics issues that were related to Synthetic Biology. Using Simbiology he has developed a model which describes the expected behaviour of the system we have designed. He also has debugged some problems of the simulation. Despite of coming from the robotic field he has showed a big interest in this new area of science.
    • Edu (the choosen one, or the alone-informatics student) has borne all the weight of doing the whole design of the wiki. Moreover, he has programmed in JAVA a simulation which represents the behaviour of the system we developed.
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