iGEM 2016: Biolasers and biolenses

Themes: Life Science & Health, Chemistry, bio- & process technology

Proof of principle

A TRL is a measure to indicate the matureness of a developing technology. When an innovative idea is discovered it is often not directly suitable for application. Usually such novel idea is subjected to further experimentation, testing and prototyping before it can be implemented. The image below shows how to read TRL’s to categorise the innovative ideas.

Click to enlarge


Fluorescence microscopy is essential in biological research, but is limited by the amount of light it can observe. The aim of this project is to improve fluorescence microscopy using genetically modified 'biolaser' and 'biolens' bacteria.


E. coli is modified so it produces silicatein, which coats the cell wall with a layer of biological glass. The result is an environmentally friendly, easy-to-produce microlens. Co-expressing fluorescent proteins enables the 'biolens' bacteria to also function as laser.


This iGEM project won several prizes in the 2016 competition. The microlenses have been proven to work on a lab-scale, and experts in the imaging field indicate they have great potential.

Ing. Esengül Yildirim


Charlotte Koster

Lara van der Woude

Carmen Berends

Giannis Papazoglou

Lycka Kamoen

María Vázquez Vitali

Tessa Vergroesen

Liza de Wilde

Iris de Vries

Célina Reuvers