Guillaume Jubien, a student at Grenoble Institute of Technology-Phelma and participant in the iGEM 2017 International Genetically Engineered Machine
Categorie(s) : Education, Innovation & Society, Interviews
Published : 5 February 2018
We can detect cholera with a lens, two filters, and a smartphone
Tell us about SnapLab, the project that originated in Grenoble and that won a gold medal at the iGEM finals at MIT.
SnapLab is a portable and very easy-to-use cholera test kit that can detect a sequence of nucleic acid in a stool sample and emit fluorescence if the bacteria responsible for cholera are present. SnapLab delivers results as reliable as those obtained with a spectrometer with only a lens, two filters, and a smartphone!
Does the project end here?
The members of our team have gone their separate ways, so we can’t take the project any further as a group. However, we have made our work available on an open source basis, which means that students can use it for their graduation projects, for example. The next step in developing SnapLab would be to reduce the size and cost. It is a low-tech system that would be very useful in places like Africa where cholera is a huge problem.
What did you take away from the experience?
I, like the rest of the team, am proud of our gold medal, even if that isn’t necessarily what matters most. The fact that we competed in such a high profile event will be a great addition to our CVs. Plus, in addition to the science and technology aspects of the project, we learned how to do a lot of other things, like applying for grants, setting up a crowdfunding campaign, and doing a website. But first and foremost we learned to work as a team, communicate with each other, and get past any disagreements to reach our goals. It is an experience I will never forget!