This iGEM project started early February with a meeting organized by our instructur and supervisor Oscar Kuipers. He and old iGEM team members told us about iGEM, we had a nice informal discussion. Most current team members were already present there and we decided to have a meeting a week later in which we introduced ourselves to each other and thought carefully if we would have enough time available. More meetings followed and a few more team members were added. We started brainstorming and have lots of crazy ideas as you can see on our brainstorm page. We decided to create some order in the chaos of random ideas by using different colors of post-its for different application areas, but this hopelessly failed since many ideas belonged to more than one category. At the end of March we chose 18 possible project ideas to research further and invented some criteria based on which we could later choose 6 of those. We did this by dividing the ideas among small groups of team members and present the ideas to each other after some research. The criteria we used were: feasibility, appeal (wow-factor), originality, modelling component, level of complexity is neither too high nor too low, how does it fit in award criteria.

It was hard to part from some brainstorm ideas but in at the end of April only two ideas remained and got almost the same amount of votes. We chose to keep both ideas for a few more weeks to check the feasibility once more, but the hydrophobic biofilm soon became our main focus. In the time it took us to definitely choose an idea, we also started up the wiki and searched for sponsors. This was harder than in other years because of the economic crises, but in the end we have found enough money to run our project.

In June we settled in our office and lab space and started doing experiments whenever someone had time. We had already made an inventory via a google calendar to know when people would be present at the lab or office. We also made a rule about not having more than two weeks holiday's and made a flow chart of what should be done when to make sure we would finish everything in time. Because of this careful planning during the summer months there were a lot of people available and we did a lot of experiments and other important things.

In September we started to stress a little because our chaplins seemed a little shy, they were not really willing to show themselves. So we had a hard time proving they were actually there and although the measurements were giving more and more hints that they really were present, they were never conclusive. Also lots of other things still had to be done. For example our Human Practices part really started in September and October when we visited schools and participated in a Masterclass for high school students and a monthly event which is meant to get the public acquainted with current research. Both were organized by our university and were fun to do.

In the last weeks of iGEM we finally had conclusive data on our chaplins when we did mass spectrometry measurements. Also a construct with our quorum sensing activated gene expression coupled with GFP showed some activity. So in the end it really came down to the last days people could work on the project. Since most people counted on working on iGEM mainly in the summer months this was not so easy to achieve, but luckily for us we got some results in the last weeks which make up for the efforts we put in the project.

So to conclude we can say that iGEM is lots of fun, but also a lot more work than you can imagine before you start. But it is worth the trouble, so to say, and we really look forward to seeing all the other teams and hear about their crazy ideas at the Jamboree.