Would any of your project ideas raise safety issues?

No issues of researcher safety, public safety or environmental safety were raised during Heidelberg's iGEM 2009 project. We only worked with non-hazardous, non-infectious, commonly used and accepted bacteria strains (SCS110 and DH5α) and mammalian cancer cell lines (U2-OS, HeLa and MCF-7). When working with toxic chemicals (e.g. ethidiumbromide or estrogen), nitrile gloves, and white coat were worn. We specifically reserved an area of our lab for work with ethidiumbromide. All work was conducted in a biosafety level S1 laboratory. Rules of best microbiological practices were applied.

Is there a local biosafety group, committee or review board at your institution?

According to German Federal law, there is a project leader for biological safety issues for the group that advised us, who was glad to take the responsibility for our project's safety issues (M. Reichenzeller, PhD m.reichenzeller at There is also a biosafety supervisor who supervises biological safety university-wide (W. Siller, PhD willi.siller at

What does your local biosafety group think about your project?

All material handled or distributed are non-hazardous and non-infectious. It agrees with all safety standards requested biosafety level 1. Therefore, Dr. Reichenzeller fully supports the work done by this iGEM team. She is also very committed to supporting the team and has become an advisor for the second time.

Do any of the new BioBrick parts that you made this year raise any safety issues?

No - we developed synthetic promoters for use in mammalian cells. These parts are completely harmless, no matter what organism they are transformed / transfected into.