iGEM Uppsala 2017 Chipgineering 2.0 Project
Uppsala University involves in the international genetically engineered machine (iGEM) competition since 2009. In this competition, the team should work on synthetic biology, make biobricks, and develop related synthetic biology project. Last year, the iGEM Uppsala team invented portable transformation equipment which can be used for synthetic biology experiments. By using the microfluidics concept, the team successfully created a heat shock transformation system which works with small volumes of cells. The principle of the chip is allowing microliter fluid flow from the inlet of the microfluidic channel with the help of a weak force from a gassing in system. Thus, the cells, plasmid, and medium will flow along the microfluidic channel and get heat transfer from a heating channel. Through this, the team have created a cheap, innovative, and simple fabrication method as a microfluidic chip for transformation. This year, iGEM Uppsala team 2017 wants to improve the efficiency of the transformation rate. Focusing on the simple heat shock device, some features such as optimized distance of heating channel, parallel channels, and automatization of gassing in would be the options. The improvement will focus on redesigning the chip and find better channel design to make the chip ready to enter the market. The first new design was generated and they could then be modelled. The models were simulated in COMSOL to get the prediction of fluid dynamics and heat transfer in a two dimensional simulation. To get better results, a simulation with three dimensions (3D) would improve the new design of Chipgineering. Therefore, modelling with bigger CPU capacity is needed to achieve transformation chip simulations with 3D models. In order to facilitate simulation, a supercomputer like Rackham in UPPMAX would be crucial.