Students from the University of Groningen, Netherlands, enjoyed gold medal success at last year’s International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition, with their ‘Nanobuddy’ project to develop a genetic engineering solution to combat the transmission of avian flu (H5N1) among poultry. The group used Viaflo electronic pipettes donated by Integra Biosciences to improve both the productivity and accuracy of their successful project.
The iGEM Groningen 2022 team aimed to develop a novel way of protecting birds against H5N1 with a biosynthetic alternative to inefficient vaccination efforts. The project identified a bacterium that is naturally present in chicken lungs, and genetically modified it to secrete nanobodies – small, single-domain antibodies – that target and deactivate the virus. The nanobody-producing bacteria could then be delivered by aerosol into the birds’ lungs for immunisation.
Ronald van der Meulen, Lab Manager for iGEM Groningen 2022, described how the pipettes aided the group: “Various pipetting activities were required for our genetic engineering workflow, and working with the Viaflo pipettes streamlined several steps, including serial dilutions, PCR, ELISAs, and western blotting. The pipettes are lightweight, with a well-balanced design that is both fun and ergonomic to work with. Our success at iGEM 2022 was largely thanks to the efficiency and accuracy provided by the pipettes in combination with Griptip pipette tips, which helped to maximise productivity by ensuring the tips stayed securely in place. The team really enjoyed using the pipettes – particularly the serial dilution feature, which saved us a lot of time and reduced our plastic waste – ultimately enabling us to achieve our goals for the competition.”