Genetically engineered spider web for healing chronic wounds


iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) is a competition in Synthetic Biology, where students work together to solve real-world challenges by building genetically engineered biological systems with standard, interchangeable parts. We were part of the Stockholm team of 14 people from diverse backgrounds.

The project aimed to construct a functional dressing for chronic wounds, using spider silk as a scaffold to attach biofilm-degrading enzymes. This includes:

  • Expressing biofilm-degrading ‘combat proteins’ and quantifying their potency

  • Assembling combat proteins with a linker and tag needed for purification and attachment to spider silk

  • Attaching the enzymes to spider silk using Sortase A, a transpeptidase

  • solating Sortase A from the S. aureus genome and creating a ‘Sortase Package’ including basic parts needed for other iGEM teams to use Sortase in their own projects

  • Testing the efficacy of the fully assembled wound dressing with attached enzymes on biofilms

We worked with imagining the implication of the project, and with design and communication: websites, presentations, holding workshops discussing synthetic biology etc.

Our team was awarded with a Gold Medal, and was also nominated for “Best Presentation” and “Best Education and Public Engagement”.