This year our team, through project "Herophilus", aimed to convey the importance of Synthetic Biology in the field of therapeutics and to inform society about one of the deadliest malignant tumors- pancreatic adenocarcinoma, which significantly affects not only our local community but also the global community. Although pancreatic cancer remains relatively infrequent, its clinical, societal, and economic burden is noteworthy. Future projections suggest that its effect may double during the next 40 years, so the scientific community should prepare reliable and safe therapeutic methods by that time. By raising awareness in our broader community early on, we are laying the foundation for preventing pancreatic cancer because, as the great Greek physician Hippocrates once said, "Prevention is better than cure."

In order to have the maximum impact on society through our project, we reached out to a wide range of social groups, so that everyone could have the opportunity to access information surrounding this crucial topic and gain awareness on it. For each category of individuals, we adapted our activities and the content of our speeches to ensure we became as understandable as possible.

Below, you may find the categories of the social groups we approached to communicate the value of Synthetic Biology in Therapeutics and inform them about the pivotal issue of pancreatic cancer.

14th Children’s Festival of DESECE of the University of Patras

Our team had the pleasure to volunteer in the 14th Children’s Festival of the Department of Educational Sciences and Early Childhood Education (DESECE) of the University of Patras, which took place in the University’s campus from the 6th until the 9th of June 2023. During this yearly festival, preschool children from different schools of Patras city, along with their teachers, had the opportunity to visit the University of Patras and participate in outdoor learning activities and games. These activities were organized by the students of the Department of Educational Sciences and Early Childhood Education (DESECE) of the University of Patras, as well as volunteering music and art teachers. The preschool children could partake in different activities in intervals, by engaging in various learning stations and getting in touch with insightful projects, each day of the festival.

As a team, we volunteered during the entire duration of the festival, as part of the learning stations the children visited. More specifically, we were responsible for the engagement of preschool students in science and especially in Synthetic Biology. In order to achieve this, we organized three different activities for our science learning station which was called “Little Scientists”. So we began by introducing the students to a fascinating, yet children-friendly and safe experiment. This experiment involved purring the boiled juice of purple cabbage in different clear containers and then adding a different ingredient in each container to change the initial purple color of the cabbage juice. The simple ingredients we chose to add (eg vinegar, baking soda) produced the color effect change due to their different pH. The final visual result was very captivating for young children, since this was their first contact with such a science experiment. We proceeded to explain to them why we were able to witness the color change and we allowed them to interactively participate in the activity by trying to guess the color change we were going to achieve with each ingredient.

After this science experiment, we went on to play our first game which was called “Can you Guess?” and it included cards which showed the cells that serve our immune system, the DNA, as well as different organs and their place within our body. Not only was this a great way for preschool children to learn where these organs are situated, but also it allowed them to learn about their healthy function and the purpose they serve within our body, through the questions we asked and the vivid images of the cards. At the same time, through “Can you Guess?” we were able to teach the students about the basic function of our immune system and the fundamental role it plays in our body homeostasis. Also, we talked about what DNA is, where it is located within our cells and how we get it from our parents.

Lastly, we played our second game which was called “Remember, remember…” and it was a memory game which involved cards that showed the body parts, the cells and the DNA we learnt about in the previous game. “Remember, remember…” helped the students to actively recall the information they learnt previously, about each picture they saw and then try to find its matching picture and pair them together. This was an effective way for them to interactively learn about the bodily organs, the DNA and the cells which help our immune system battle external microorganisms, even better.

You may find more information about the Children’s Festival of DESECE on its official website.

Arsakeio Middle School of Patras

As part of our outreach activities, we had the privilege of visiting the private Arsakeio Middle School in Patras, on the 25th of May 2023, with the primary objective of acquainting children between the ages of 12 and 15 with our research team, our ongoing project, our endeavors in pancreatic cancer research, the essence of Synthetic Biology, and the significance of the iGEM Competition. Our engagement commenced with a tailored presentation, designed to cater to the age group of the students, effectively conveying the importance of seeking efficacious therapy for the highly aggressive pancreatic cancer, as well as the pivotal role of immunotherapy in combating solid malignancies. To foster interactivity, we posed comprehension questions to the students, who responded with keen interest and rapt attention, underscoring their enthusiasm for our presentation.

Subsequently, we conducted a hands-on experiment aimed at familiarizing the students with the practical applications of Synthetic Biology. This experiment involved the isolation of DNA from bananas, a process in which the students actively participated under our guidance. This proved to be an exhilarating experience for them, offering a tangible insight into the fundamental principles of biology. Furthermore, we provided them with vials containing isolated DNA, allowing them to observe the intricate double helix structure of DNA with remarkable clarity.

In conclusion, we distributed a specialized crossword puzzle, "The Synthetic BioCrossword," featuring elements from the lesson they had just participated in. Remarkably, all students successfully completed the crossword, reaffirming their genuine affinity and interest in the field of Synthetic Biology. We express our sincere gratitude for their enthusiastic collaboration, and we earnestly hope that through this engagement, one of these promising students may aspire to become a future member of the iGEM Competition and a dedicated scientist in the realm of Synthetic Biology.

UNIque Days Seminar by UNique Minds organization

As part of our Science Communication activities, our team on the 6th of May 2023 participated in the UNIque Days Seminar organized by the UNIque Minds organization at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA). The primary goal of this seminar was to assist students from various scientific groups in Greece in choosing their future careers, a decision that is particularly crucial for the professional paths later on in life. Our team had its own stand with our banner, informative brochures, and stickers and actively took part in the UNIque Days Seminar. We conducted a presentation of our research work for the students and also shared our experiences in our journey in the iGEM World Synthetic Biology Competition. Additionally, our team members engaged in constructive discussions with the students about the significance of Synthetic Biology and its contribution to building a sustainable society of the future. We also talked about the diverse specializations within Synthetic Biology and the future prospects in each field. In conclusion, through this initiative, our team aimed to provide each student with valuable insights into the realm of Synthetic Biology, with the hope of inspiring today's students to become the active scholars and conscientious citizens of tomorrow, addressing issues related to the environment, health, economy, and well-being of nations.

Blood Donation with "Fleva Zois"

On May 18th 2023, our team participated in cooperation with the student team of the University of Patras "Fleva Zois" in the organizing process of a blood donation in the context of raising the awareness of young students about the importance of blood donation in the treatment of malignant neoplasms. The blood donation was carried out in a particular area of the University Campus where every person of any age could donate blood after the appropriate doctor examination. Our team had a banner at the site and our team members distributed leaflets to both volunteer blood donors and students who hesitated to donate blood.

The informative leaflets emphasized the importance of donating blood, not only for the patient but also for the volunteer donor as well. At the same time, through the brochures, our team highlighted the value of bone marrow donation, platelet donation and stem cell donation. In this way, we aimed to raise young people's awareness of the importance of these donations for cancer treatment.

Furthermore, we informed the young students about this year's project, emphasizing the social responsibility that the new generation must carry on to make this simple act of kindness of becoming blood donors for patients in need. A similar act of kindness that concerns this year's project, is the donation of somatic cells of healthy donors such as skin or hair follicle keratinocytes, urothelial cells etc. With the evolution of science, the somatic cells of a healthy donor can be the source of new therapeutic approaches that will combat lethal malignancies, such as pancreatic cancer. This was the main message that our group communicated in the context of blood donation.

Researcher's Night Patras 2023

On September 29th, 2023, our team had the pleasure of participating in the "Researcher's Night Patra" event. The "Researcher's Night" initiative by the European Commission aims to highlight the role of researchers and the significance of their scientific and social work, emphasizing the human aspect. Another critical event goal is to inform specific public groups, such as students and educators, and familiarize them with science and technology to promote engagement with new scientific aspects and innovative technologies.

The "Researcher's Night" initiative began in 2005 and is held simultaneously on the last Friday of every September in all European Union countries. In Greece, it takes place in Athens, Patras, Volos, Larisa, Heraklion, and Alexandroupoli, with celebratory events highlighting the researcher's role in society. The University of Patras organized the event we attended in collaboration with the Foundation for Research and Technology - Institute of Chemical Engineering Sciences (FORTH-ICE/HT).

The presence of our team at "Researcher's Night Patras" had the purpose of paying tribute to the science of Synthetic Biology, as well as to its contribution to Cancer Therapy and raising the awareness of children, school students, university students, and adults for this matter. This was achieved by displaying our team banner, informative brochures about our project, presentations on the applications of Synthetic Biology, Synthetic Biology questionnaires, Synthetic BioCrossword and Synthetic Biology games. In addition, our team presented the comic "Why did the pancreas escape?" to demonstrate that even the most complex concepts of science can be presented in a simple, comprehensive way to individuals of all ages and social groups.

Talking in UP.FM radio station of the University of Patras

Our team, wanting to share its voice on the radio of the University of Patras, which serves as the connecting link for all the students of the University of Patras, participated in a morning radio program with exciting discussions. UP.FM is the radio station of the University of Patras, and it quotes, “Here, you hear everything!” broadcasting on 103.7 FM for Patras and online at

Initially, we talked about when our team was formed and about the project we will be working on this year, emphasizing that pancreatic cancer mortality rates have not improved in the last 25 years, despite the fact that significant reduction in mortality is observed in other cancers. Thus, we revealed our project to the radio audience. We also discussed the previous success of our team and the awards it received in the iGEM competition in 2022. Furthermore, we highlighted the characteristics that should distinguish every member of an iGEM team, such as social awareness, solidarity, collaborative spirit, perseverance and the desire to contribute to a better future through Synthetic Biology. Moreover, we offered some advice to students who wish to participate in the competition next year, such as the love for Synthetic Biology and the interest in creating a better society in terms of health and the environment.

Higgs Pop Ups Event

Our team’s first Science Communication action on February 8th, 2023, occurred at the HIGGS Pop-Ups Event in Patras. HIGGS (Higher Incubator Giving Growth & Sustainability) aims to empower Greece's non-profit organizations and public authorities through educational and support programs. This was an excellent opportunity for our team to participate in the educational process and inform a diverse audience of Civil Society Organizations, the University’s research groups, local government bodies (municipality and region), and businesses. Our team presented the background regarding the problem we are trying to solve, raising awareness of pancreatic cancer, the prominent need for new treatments, and the proposed solution through Project “Herophilus.” The presentation was followed by a discussion on the value of Synthetic Biology in therapeutics and the importance of multidisciplinary approaches in cancer research to improve patient's quality of life. It was also discussed how policymakers and businesses could strengthen cancer research by being thoroughly informed about such a significant public health issue and supporting new ideas to be implemented successfully.

TEDx Klonatzidika

On the 12th of May, we had the honor of participating in the presentation of a workshop at TEDx in Tripoli city called "TEDx Klonatzidika." The central concept was inspired by the phrase "Envision Change," and through our workshop, we aimed to convey Synthetic Biology's impact on our daily lives. Thus, in the workshop titled "Synthetic Biology: Unlocking Nature's Secrets," we presented the concept of Synthetic Biology, its relation to Genetic Engineering, and its general applications in our daily lives, particularly in Medicine. We engaged with participants of various ages, genders, and professions, providing insights into the subject matter.

During the workshop, we delved into our project for this year, explaining how Synthetic Biology could be applied to cancer treatment and outlining the specific laboratory steps we intended to follow. Subsequently, we conducted an experiment that allowed each participant to get in touch with Synthetic Biology firsthand by isolating banana DNA. The results of this experiment surprised everyone and created a sense of excitement about having experimented with them.

The workshop commenced and concluded with a short 10-minute questionnaire. The same set of questions was administered to the participants at the beginning and end of the session to gauge how much our presentation impacted their understanding of biological and medical topics. Below, we present the statistical results we derived from the questionnaires administered before and after the workshop.

Movie Night Event

Sometimes, the most beautiful and effective way to convey a message to someone is through images. This is precisely the purpose of the cinema, which, through dynamic scenes, imparts information, unique emotions, and awakens the viewer. Thus, we came up with the idea to organize a "Movie night" event, where we would watch a film related to our project. This was "Jamaica" (2017), a Greek, touching, optimistic, and profoundly human film. It balances between the dramatic and the comedic, much like life itself. Specifically, it narrates the story of two siblings, one of whom is suffering from terminal pancreatic cancer, having only a few months to live with no hopes of treatment. He spends his remaining time alongside his beloved brother. In this way, the story presents a brave and humorous approach to facing fear. This was the perfect opportunity to raise awareness among people of all ages about pancreatic cancer and to capture their interest in the novel treatment approach that we are proposing.

Social Media

Throughout our journey in the iGEM competition, our team was active on social media, specifically on Spotify, LinkedIn, X (Twitter), Facebook and Instagram. These platforms helped us to successfully disseminate valuable information about Synthetic Biology and its applications, the iGEM competition, science, the STEM fields in general, Medicine and ultimately raise awareness about cancer, its prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

In particular, we shared posts, interactive quizzes on Instagram Stories and questionnaires on online forms to communicate scientific knowledge in a coprehensive way. Some of the topics we covered included “Advanced Immunotherapies in Cancer Treatment”, “Tribute to Women in Synthetic Biology and Medicine”, “The STEM Gap”,” What is iGEM?”, “People of Color in STEM”, “Cancers of the Gastrointestinal System”, “LGBTQ+ individuals in STEM”, “prevention and diagnosis of Digestive Cancers”, the significance of Blood Donation and useful insight about pancreatic cancer (background, types, epidemiology, microenvironment, symptoms, its link to depression and treatment etc).

Additionally, we developed a series of posts called "FriDAY, SynBio DAY," during which we shared information about Synthetic Biology and its applications on certain Fridays. Specifically, in this series, we discussed topics such as “What is Synthetic Biology”, “Applications of Synthetic Biology”, “The most significant achievements of Synthetic Biology” , “How SynBio is used in Medicine”, and “CAR-T cell therapy (one of the most promising Immunotherapies for cancer)”.

Beyond that, we created several awareness posts about global days related to our project. By doing so, we aimed to help people understand the significance of these days and encourage them to honor the important causes they celebrate. Some of the national days we highlighted included World Cancer Day (04/02),International Day of Women and Girls in Science (11/02),International Childhood Cancer Day (15/02),Rare Disease Day (28/02),International Women's Day (08/03),International Day of the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (21/03),World Health Day (07/04),National DNA Day (25/04),World Day of Safety and Health at Work (28/04),Day of Immunology (29/04),National Day Against Homophobia,Biphobia and Transphobia (17/05),World Digestive Day (29/05),National Cancer Survivors Day (04/06) and World Blood Donor Day (14/06).

Podcast Series "The SynBio Voice #2"

Last but not least, we had a podcast series on Spotify, “The SynBio Voice #2”, in which we discussed about the iGEM competition and Synthetic Biology, pancreatic cancer and our project “Herophilus”. Also, we had the privilege to host and interview past members of the iGEM Competition, other iGEM teams and cancer survivors. You can find our podcast series “The SynBio Voice #2” on the following link

Collaboration with CPRG Greece

The Cancer Prevention Research Group in Greece is an international and non-profit association consisting of young European scientists. This group is dedicated to the pursuit of scientific comprehension, research, and the dissemination of knowledge to the general public regarding the pivotal factors that both contribute to and mitigate the incidence of cancer. With these scientists, we had the joy to exchange ideas and information about cancer topics and collaborate on creating a health campaign in the form of a social media post. In this post, we discussed possible ways of prevention and diagnosis of gastrointestinal cancers. This took place on the World Digestive Health Day on May 29th. You can find this post on our social media accounts!

2nd Conference on Psychosocial Support in Oncology.

Our team attended the 2nd Conference on Psychosocial Support in Oncology, which took place on May 26th-27th 2023. The "ALMA ZOIS" Association of Women with Breast Cancer in the region of Achaia organized this Conference. Throughout the event, we participated in engaging research-oriented presentations on the latest developments in cancer research. Additionally, we heard from individuals who shared their personal experiences with cancer, focusing on studying the psychology of cancer patients and the support their family and social environment may provide for them.

The Conference shed light on the psychosocial dimension of cancer at every stage of the disease, not only for patients but also for their families. Furthermore, it emphasized the significance of psychosocial oncology as a crucial pillar in the therapeutic management of cancer. During the intervals, our team members engaged in discussions with local politicians about how society and the government can effectively contribute to the mental well-being of cancer patients.

Furthermore, we had the opportunity to connect with individuals who have experienced cancer to understand their needs better as members of a research student group focused on finding a novel cancer therapy. Apart from that, we discussed with the participants of the Conference (including cancer patients) the treatment we propose for pancreatic cancer and how it can be applied to other types of solid tumors, such as breast cancer, due to the binding of the Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) to the tumor antigen. The sequence of the Chimeric Antigen Receptor is specific for each targeted antigen, which is why CAR-NK therapy can be eligible to treat other types of cancer. Additionally, CAR-NK cell therapy can target solid tumors in contrast to existing cell immunotherapies with CAR-T cells, making it possible to treat breast cancer in this way. At the same time, we emphasized that the innovative cellular therapy with CAR-NK cells and iPSCs is attributed to the contribution of Synthetic Biology, which enables the modification of immune cells to combat cancer effectively.

Interviewing a cancer patient on our podcast series

On September 28th, we recorded a particularly emotional episode in our podcast series, "The SynBio Voice #2", featuring Ms. Katerina Kosti, a breast cancer survivor and member of “ALMA ZOIS” Association of Women with Breast Cancer in the region of Achaia. Our team's main objective was to connect with patients who have experienced cancer to understand better their needs and communicate our mission to find an effective and less invasive treatment for cancer, giving hope to people battling this disease. Mrs. Kosti candidly shared her intense experience battling breast cancer and all the emotions that dominated her during this period, such as the immense anxiety and fear of disease recurrence. She also described the harrowing moment of diagnosis and the turmoil that followed.

However, Ms. Kosti did not allow disappointment and pessimism to overcome her; she confronted cancer with determination. Her optimism and faith played an instrumanetal role in overcoming breast cancer, and she emphasized the importance of mental health resilience throughout this journey. She also highlighted the support she received from her family as an important pillar of strenght.

The most touching and emotional part of our discussion was when she advised us never to cancel or postpone necessary medical examinations because they can be crucial to our health. Early diagnosis can save lives; therefore, we must always stay consistent with our medical appointments. Ultimately, we congratulated her wholeheartedly for her heroic attitude and optimism because she conveyed to us the importance of a positive mindset in life's challenging situations, and she encouraged us to continue our research work in our effort to find the best possible cancer treatment for patients.

This episode of the SynBio Voice #2 series aimed to raise awareness among our listeners about cancer and emphasize the mental health struggles that come with it. Our goal was to highlight the mental health journey of a patient from the moment of diagnosis to the moment of full recovery through the real life experience of a cancer survivor. We wish for this podcast episode to serve as a reminder of the importance of early cancer diagnosis and the significance of regular and responsible medical examination, which can save lives. To listen our podcast you can click here

Comic in Braille Format

Our team, aiming to spread our project in a broader social context and enjoyably, reached out to special social groups, such as individuals with visual impairments. That is why we created our comic in braille format so that these individuals can access our work and scientific knowledge. By making our team's comic in braille format, we intend to raise awareness about the access of particular social groups to science and recognize their equal rights to knowledge, bridging the existing gap with society. We also promoted the Braille comic in schools with children with visual impairments.

Meeting with the Deputy Regional Governor of Achaia, Greece

We had the honor of meeting with Fokion Zaimis, the Deputy Regional Governor for Entrepreneurship, Research and Innovation of the Achaia region, Greece, to promote our project and seek support from our local prefecture in our challenging endeavor. Following the introduction of our team, we proceeded with a detailed presentation of our project for the iGEM competition, along with an overview of our team's objectives. After each team member shared their respective roles within the team and the responsibilities they undertook, Mr. Zaimis acknowledged the significance of our presence in a global competition. He recognized that our participation would have a positive impact not only on our local community, but also on the broader scientific community. For this reason, he offered to actively promote our project and inform his colleagues about our team's mission and goals. Simultaneously, we discussed how the state can actively support such initiatives by student groups and the importance of funding for research in Greece. Furthermore, Mr. Zaimis expressed his interest in supporting our effort financially and thus, he proposed the possibility of organizing a seminar in collaboration with our team, with all associated expenses covered by the prefecture of Western Greece, to further support our team.

Meeting with the Rector of the University of Patras

We had the chance to meet Mr. Christos Bouras, the Rector of the University of Patras, who is a distinguished Professor at the Department of Computer Engineering and Informatics, renowned for his expertise in Algorithms and Applications in Networks, Telecommunications, and New Services. He has also served as the Scientific Director of Research Unit 6 at ITI-E (Diophantus) since 1999.

On October 4th, our team presented its research project to the administration of the University of Patras, specifically to the Rector, and we discussed ways in which the University can promote new initiatives by student research groups and contribute to the advancement of cancer research. In particular, it was emphasized that the engagement of such teams in the social initiatives of Patras holds a pivotal role in advancing research endeavors. Such involvement fosters the establishment of fresh bonds of solidarity and acquaintanceships, which, in turn, contribute significantly to the promotion of research and science. Therefore, by disseminating our project for pancreatic cancer treatment, we raise public awareness of the issue. We also discussed the observed difficulty in funding research in Greece which hinders the implementation of these ideas. Thus, it is of tremendous significance that the academic community takes the necessary steps to limit this issue. Ultimately, Mr. Bouras congratulated us on our honorable effort and encouraged us to continue making the most of our journey in iGEM competition.

Day-long Conference iGEM 2023:

"Cracking the Codes in Cancer Treatment: Insights from Synthetic Biology"

Our team held its educational day-long conference on the 2nd of October 2023, titled "Cracking the Codes in Cancer Treatment: Insights from Synthetic Biology." The day-long conference featured talks on various topics by renowned scientists, intending to highlight the role of Synthetic Biology in Cancer Therapy. The event took place at the "Co2gether Venue" in Patras, Greece, and many students and experts in this field attended it. All participants received a souvenir notebook, an informational brochure about the project, and our team's stickers. During the interval, we provided the attendees with refreshments and finger food.

The first presentation was given by Mr. Ilias Kazanis, Associate Professor of Developmental Biology at the Department of Biology of the University of Patras, titled "Neurosciences and Brain in the Era of Synthetic Biology and Genetic Engineering." He specifically elaborated on how Synthetic Biology can be applied to treating various neurodegenerative diseases using experimental animals like mice.

Next, Mr. Sotiris Tsakas, a Professor in the field of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development at the Department of Biology of the University of Patras, gave a speech titled "Contributing to Science," focusing on the necessary steps for conducting experiments strategically and the essential biosafety rules which should be followed in the laboratory. He emphasized the value of reproducibility in experiments for accurate and reliable documentation of laboratory results.

Following the interval, Mr. Michalis Gkouvelis, a Ph.D. candidate in Bioinformatics at the Department of Medicine of the University of Patras, delivered a presentation titled "Bioinformatics with Applications in Medicine," discussing Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) and Bioinformatics.

Then, Mr. Konstantinos Mikelis, Associate Professor of Physiology at the Department of Pharmacy of the University of Patras, gave an intriguing talk titled "Targeting the Endothelium using Synthetic Biology." He discussed the receptors that bind G proteins and how Synthetic Receptors help us understand the signaling pathways activated in diseases such as septic shock.

Afterward, Mr. Dimitris Kardamakis, Professor of Radiobiology and Radiotherapy Oncology at the Department of Medicine of the University of Patras presented his speech "Radiotherapy for Solid Tumors: Challenges for the Radiation Oncologist." He discussed the challenges of radiotherapy for lung and pancreatic cancer, highlighting the difficulties of treating pancreatic tumors due to their proximity to vital organs like the liver. He emphasized that immunotherapy is the future for treating pancreatic cancer and how combining immunotherapy with radiotherapy can restrict the progression of solid malignancies.

Finally, one of the wet lab members of our team, Christos Kalogeropoulos, a graduate student in Applied Biochemistry, presented our project to the attendees thoroughly. He elaborated on the urgent need to cure pancreatic cancer, the global epidemiology of this disease, our work philosophy and the experimental path we followed as a team, and the innovative approach of our project.

4th Panhellenic Conference of the Hellenic Pharmaceutical Students' Association, "Beyond Pharma Degree".

Our Team participated on May 12th-14th at the 4th Panhellenic Conference of the Hellenic Pharmaceutical Students' Association, "Beyond Pharma Degree," aspiring to inform Pharmacy students from all over Greece about their career options after the degree through pioneering speeches and innovative roundtables. Our Team informed Pharmacy students and students from health-related fields about the iGEM Competition, the research opportunities it offers, and the project and the importance of an interdisciplinary approach to pancreatic cancer therapy.

Our dry lab members held a "Dynamic Programming and Algorithms in Bioinformatic Sequence Analysis and Genomic Data Processing" workshop. The workshop participants were informed about the Needleman–Wunsch Dynamic Programming Algorithm as a general technique in Bioinformatics. A demonstration was also conducted for the optimal alignment of Spike protein sequences between two Coronaviruses, implemented in classical Python and Biopython, followed by observing their 3D structures in the Swiss model tool.

Our presence at this Conference helped Pharmacy students realize that there is a wide range of opportunities to pursue in their professional careers, such as research and bioinformatics, and the chance to participate in competitions, such as the iGEM Competition.

The "Present and Future of Oncology" Conference

Our team attended cancer biology and oncology conferences, allowing us to externalize our idea and engage with a large number of scientists. The "Present and Future of Oncology '' conference was co-organized by the Society of Geriatric Oncology and the Oncology Department of Pathology Clinic of the University Hospital of Patras on June 9th. During these three days that the conference lasted, the application of immunotherapy to many types of cancer was mentioned, such as esophageal and stomach cancer. In addition, immunotherapy perspectives were discussed, as a possible non-invasive alternative, hence expanding the applications of immunotherapy to treat cancer more efficiently. Oncologists and graduate students attended the conference, where recent advances in cancer biology were highlighted. Our team had the honor to participate and present our project to a broad scientific community. We described the critical role of synthetic biology and the advantages of its application in current cancer therapies, focusing on immunotherapy of pancreatic adenocarcinoma, utilizing Natural Killer Cells, engineered with a Chimeric Antigen Receptor. Lastly, we shared our vision of creating an off-the-shelf alternative, from reprogramming Pluripotent Stem Cells into Natural Killer Cells, to making immunotherapy widely available.

29th Greek Congress of Clinical Oncology

On the 5th-8th of April, our team participated in the 29th Greek Congress of Clinical Oncology by presenting an E-Poster organized by the HeSMO (Hellenic Society of Medical Oncology). This Congress is one of the most scientifically renowned Greek Oncological Congresses, as in the particular Congress, take part in the most prestigious Oncologists from Greece and abroad. The Congress’s agenda was scientific and research work in Medical Oncology, such as new therapeutic methods and diagnostic tools that eliminate neoplastic disease. In this Congress, we met some of the most renowned Greek Oncologists and discussed our project’s perspectives and future integration into our community. Among them was Mr. Nikolaos Tsoukalas, a medical oncologist, a member of the HeSMO, and an advisor to our team.

Publication of our scientific work in the scientific Journal "Oncology news"

In the context of disseminating our scientific work in the field of Synthetic Biology, to the general public, the business sector, and the scientific community, we are pleased to announce the publication of our project in the informative electronic journal of HeSMO (Hellenic Society of Medical Oncology), entitled "Oncology News" in the May 2023 edition. In addition, information regarding the establishment of our research team and our participation in the iGEM Competition were included. We express our gratitude to Mr. Nikolaos Tsoukalas, one of the advisors of our research team, for his insightful suggestion to introduce our scientific endeavors to the readers of "Oncology News."

"Oncology News" is the name of the digital edition of the journal, as established by the HeSMO. Scientific topics, information, interviews and issues for patients are some of the topics included in the new material and gather readers from all fields of Oncology and Cancer. Simultaneously, the regular and frequent updating of content on a monthly basis, along with timely notifications sent to members of HESMO and all relevant stakeholders regarding the release of new electronic issues, guarantee the substantial visibility of this magazine. This outreach strategy has led to a monthly readership of 5,000 users, with a continuously growing number of page followers and supporters.

Click on the Oncology News link to see more about the journal. Also, to see our scientific work published in the “Oncology News” click here: Pancreatic Cancer Immunotherapy: Perspectives of CAR-NK Cells from iPSCs | Oncology News | Hellenic Society of Medical Oncology

Publication of the summary of our project in the summary book of the 29th Greek Congress of Clinical Oncology by HeSMO and in the supplementary issue of the official journal of the HeSMO, Forum of Clinical Oncology (FCO).

After the participation of our team at the 29th Hellenic Congress of Clinical Oncology in the period 5th-8th of April 2023, which was conducted by the HeSMO (Hellenic Society of Medical Oncology), we were asked by the organizing committee of the Conference, consisting of members of HeSMO, to send the summary of our project to be published in the summary book of the 29th Greek Congress of Clinical Oncology. To see our project summary in the book of the 29th Greek Congress of Clinical Oncology by HeSMO, click here.

Subsequently, we were asked by the organizing committee of the same Congress to publish the summary of our project in the complementary issue of the official journal of HeSMO, called "Forum of Clinical Oncology (FCO)". The publication of our summary in the FCO journal will be carried out in December 2023. click here.

FCO Journal

FCO publishes original and translational research articles relevant to the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, state-of-the-art reviews, case reports, research articles, statements of opinion and comments, all related to clinical practice and basic research. Many eminent Greek and Foreign colleagues who participate in the National and International Editorial Boards, with their continuum direction and support, guarantee the high quality of the work published in FCO. Every issue published will be something new, enjoyable and exciting to read. Learn more about FCO -

Nutrition and Cancer Survivors, OACCUs, May 6

One of the initiatives we decided to participate in was the seminar "Nutrition and Cancer Survivors" organized by OACCUs (Outdoor Against Cancer Connects), which took place in Patras on May 6. OACCUs is composed of EU members who came together to pursue a common goal: the sustainable development of a network throughout the EU for young cancer survivors. During this seminar, we were informed about the latest developments in cancer treatment and how cancer patients and survivors should be nourished and were shown healthy recipes by a chef. Apart from that, we had the opportunity to speak with specialists, scientists and oncologists regarding the prospects of our projects. Several non-profit organizations also participated in this seminar, with whom we discussed potential future collaborations. We distributed informational brochures about our project to the participants and informed them about the implications of pancreatic cancer and the 'therapeutic gap' in the pharmaceutical market. With this goal in mind, we highlighted the importance of prevention through proper nutrition in reducing the risk of cancer. Simultaneously, we highlighted the fact that obesity is closely linked to pancreatic cancer, placing greater emphasis on ways to avoid obesity, such as exercise and proper diet.

MIT Global Startup Workshop

Our team participated in the MIT Global Startup Workshop (MIT GSW) in Athens on March 30th-31st, 2023. This annual multi-day conference aims to bring together entrepreneurs, students, investors, and key stakeholders of a worldwide range to accelerate a host region's entrepreneurial ecosystem. Through contact with Biotechnology company stakeholders, we were further informed about entrepreneurial practices and how they can transform our idea into a successful startup. Through valuable workshops and panel discussions, we learned about innovative technologies and discussed our project goals and prospects with renowned entrepreneurs at the networking event, receiving valuable feedback. In conclusion, we discussed our project with entrepreneurs, students, and investors, making sure to emphasize to them the importance of Synthetic Biology in cancer therapy and the overall sustainability of our society.

Comic Creation

As part of promoting our project to children of all ages, we came up with the idea of creating a comic that would narrate, in a simple and metaphorical manner, how a family copes with cancer affecting one of its members.

Precisely, the comic "Why did the pancreas escape?" revolves around a family in which the hero's father, at a young age, becomes ill with late-stage pancreatic cancer and eventually passes away. The death of the hero's father profoundly impacts her life and leads her to engage in Synthetic Biology and cancer treatment on a laboratory level, later in life. The hero's life journey and her involvement in cancer therapy mirror our team's participation in the iGEM competition.

Beyond the characters' lives, the comic also describes the role and function of human organs, including their relationship with the pancreas. It becomes understandable how a diseased pancreas affects other organs and how crucial it is for them to function properly. Additionally, the comic metaphorically highlights how the therapy we propose in our current project, using CAR-NK Cells, battles cancer cells in the pancreatic area and aids in cancer treatment.

The script was written by one of our team members, Paraskevi Terzidou, while the illustration was conducted by the students of "Paihnidokamomata- Children's Art Gallery and Art School" which is located in Rethymno city, on the island of Crete. Specifically, our comic was illustrated by Dimitra Manouseli (a 15-year-old student of Paihnidokamomata) and Panagiota Thanasoula-Brina (a 21-year-old Art Student of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki who collaborated with "Paihnidokamomata"). At the same time, the Founder and Directress General of "Paihnidokamomata" Ms. Magdalini Papadopetraki was the head and organizer of our comic illustration. Click here tο read the script of our comic "Why did the pancreas escape?" and here for the illustrated English vesion of it!

Comic Distribution

Furthermore, our comic was featured in various bookstores in Rethymno City, Heraklion City and Patras City. Moreover, it was shared among the members of "Noiazomai" non-profit Support Team for Neoplastic Disease in Athens, Greece. It was also presented to the 16th Primary School of Rethymno students and the young children receiving therapy in the "Psycho-educational, psycho-social center of Eva Tzortzi" in Heraklion.

Children's art exhibition

Our comic "Why did the pancreas escape?" was featured in the Children's Art Exhibition "Spots of our town" which was organized by "Paihnidokamomata- Children's Art Gallery and Art School" and took place in Rethymno city, from the 6th until the 10th of September 2023. The comic was presented at the opening of the exhibition, interactively, to young children, with the help of Ms. Magdalini Papadopetraki. Not only did the exhibition's young visitors enjoy the narration of the comic, but they also had the opportunity to discuss its meaning and draw paintings in reference to cancer cells and immunotherapy.

What is more is that the comic "Why did the pancreas escape?" and its presentation in the children's art exhibition was featured on Greek television and specifically on the greek tv channel "KRITI TV" ( Through the art exhibition, our comic was presented to the Mayor of Rethymno city Mr. Giorgis Marinakis and Municipal Councilors of Rethymno.

“Pancreas Run” (Online Game)

"Pancreas Run" is our online game where the pancreas attempts to evade cancer cells. However, as time passes, these cancer cells multiply, and their speed increases, making it challenging for the pancreas to escape from them. So, how long can you keep your pancreas healthy and safe from the cancer cells? Click on the game bellow to find out!

“Remember, Remember...” (Card Game)

"Remember, Remember..." is one of our card games where your task is to memorize the positions of the cards. You will need to try to uncover the pairs hidden beneath the cards and reveal them simultaneously. But be careful! In each round, you can only flip over two cards. Let's test your memory ability!

“Can you Guess?” (Card Game)

"Can you Guess?" is another card game of our team, in which the front of the cards depicts a human organ, cells, or DNA. They also provide information about each of them, and the player must guess what the image represents based on the information provided. The correct answer is on the back of the cards, along with the location of the organ, cells, or DNA within the body. Let's test your knowledge!

“DNA Run” (Board Game)

"DNA Run" is one of our board games, to be the first to traverse the DNA helix and reach the end. Depending on the number you roll on the dice, that is how many steps you can take through the DNA helix. Let's see who will be the luckiest to reach the end first!

“Finding Pancreas” (Board Game)

"Finding Pancreas" is another one of our board games that depicts the journey of our treatment through the body until it reaches the pancreas. Along this journey, supportive and inhibitory factors can lead to faster or delayed treatment. So, will your treatment swiftly overcome all obstacles and reach its final destination?

“Synthetic BioCrossword” (Crossword Game)

"Synthetic BioCrossword" is a crossword game with questions related to Synthetic Biology, pancreatic cancer, science, medicine, the iGEM competition, the human body, and its organs. Can you solve it?

SB BioAnalytica A.E

SB BioAnalytica A.E is a Greek Scientific Company for Biotechnological Applications that supports research in the life sciences and modern In Vitro Medical Diagnostics. After expressing interest in gaining a deeper understanding of our project and acquainting themselves with our team, this company proceeded to convene an online call for the purpose of discussing our project objectives and the potential for financial support. Within this framework, each team member was introduced, and their respective roles were articulated. Subsequently, a concise project presentation was delivered, followed by addressing any inquiries. Following the conclusion of these proceedings, the company's representatives extended their congratulations for our endeavor and graciously offered their financial support for its realization.


Lavipharm, a Greek Integrated Research and Development Group, engaged in the production, import, trade, and distribution of pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and healthcare products in Greece, with a solid international presence. We approached this company intending to secure sponsorship to meet our needs. To this end, we conducted an online introductory meeting with the Medical Director and the Product Manager for Urology, C.N.S. & Oncology. During this meeting, we described the iGEM competition, the applications of synthetic biology and how it relates to therapeutic endeavors. Subsequently, we presented our project in detail to provide them with a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter we are engaged in. Following our presentation, the company members informed us that Lavipharm would support us with sponsorship. They recognized the significance of our project and expressed their desire to contribute to novel synthetic biology research within our country.

Boehringer Ingelheim

As part of our team's funding from the pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim, we held an online meeting with the Medical Director, Mr. Nikos Nikas. During this meeting, we provided a detailed presentation of our work to Mr. Nikas and subsequently discussed the applications of Synthetic Biology in society. He then advised us on integrating the immunotherapy we are proposing into the pharmaceutical industry and assisted us on figuring out the path to bringing the therapy with CAR-NK cells and iPSCs to the market.