Hello ETH-iGEM Supervisors,

I am Martin and this page is my application for this year’s ETH Zürich iGEM team! It should give you an idea why I will be a contribution to the team, so let’s dive straight in:

I am a student in Bioengineering specialization (D-MAVT), 6th semester of Masters. I enjoy working in interdisciplinary teams and my long-term goal is to make engineering with biology easy. Engineer who speaks biology, I have both wet lab and dry lab experience under my belt and not only within courses but also as internships and projects. See for yourself:

Wet Lab

While doing a semester project in Biofabrication and Tissue Engineering Lab I worked on system for microextrusion of cell laden biomaterials. I improved accuracy of the 3D bioprinting process while getting skills in cell culture, immunohistochemistry, PCR, viability assays and biofabrication.

Viability for different bioprinting methods
Viability for different bioprinting methods - barplot

Here is a video of 3D printing a human ear:

I also worked in microfluidics when I fabricated and tested a chip for a portable array of 64 sensors for point-of-care applications. Here are some photos:

Controlled flow in the microfluidic chip and the point of care device

Most recently, I am working on Master Thesis in which I develop a method for noncontact measurement of temperature on nanoscale using ideas from electrochemistry and scanning probe microscopy. Most of my days are spent in the lab, running experiments or working on instrumentation. Other days, I run multiphysics simulations to get better understanding of the phenonema I observe.

Dry Lab

I am fluent in Python, Matlab and R. Here are some examples of analysis of next-generation sequencing data I did:

Data analysis examples from omics

And here is our recent publication on image analysis for 2-photon microscopy in neuroscience :

Paper on neuroimaging data analysis

For my bachelor thesis, I simulated cavitating flow in a microchannel:

Vapor fraction in microfluidic channel

Most recently, I worked 8 months full-time as an intern in bioinformatics in ETH Spin-off company. My work consisted mainly in developing pipelines for processing big data from sequencing experiments, using tools like Snakemake, or exploiting concepts from machine learning to automate annotation of the data.

Other Skills & Experience

I am skilled in presenting and public speaking. In my first year at ETH I gave the final pitch at ETH Week which secured our team the prize for The Most Fascinating Science.

In 2018, I returned back to ETH Week as a Tutor to coach a team of 8 students on their week-long journey to develop a protype of a prodcut adressing pressing enviromental challenges. Among others, I had to learn how to manage their motivaion, wishes and time. I got thoroughly trained and exposed to concept of designing thinking, learning how to coach a team in innnovation process.

I am also proficient in wiki mark-up and have written multiple contributions for in-class wiki pages and I can find my way around in setting up webpages (like this one).

I am maker and hacker. I love working on a difficult problem and using whatever tools necessary to achieve desired goal. I can design and print objects with 3D printer and have participated in HackZürich and OpenFoodData Hackadays where our team was selected for financial support and business development.

Most recently, I joined a team at HackZurich 2018 and prototyped a device for remote monitoring of temperature sensitive deliveries. It was a success, the development of the product was further pursued by a Swiss start-up company speciailzing on last-mile delivery.

The prototype of a device that makes last-mile delivery smart

Me @ iGEM

Biotechnology and sytnhetic biology fascinate me and are my main fields of interest. I want to contribute to making engineering with biology easier.

“I think the biggest innovations of the 21st century will be at the intersection of biology and technology. A new era is beginning.” (Steve Jobs)

This is the track I aim to pursue in my research and career. iGEM is an event that gives one opportunity to work hard on a challenging problem, pick many skills on the way and get to know other people active in the field. All these are clearly points that will get me jump-started in SynBio and that I will benefit from during my early years of scientific career.

“Research is the process of going up alleys to see if they’re blind.” (Marston Bates)

I will be able to contribute to the ETH Zürich iGEM 2019 team the most significantly in designing and fabricating (microfluidic) tools for the genetic circuit assembly. As evidenced above, I do have rich experience in microfluidics and it also very well fits my educational background. I have proven track record of translating concepts to concrete tools and products both in hardware and software. I am also very direct in asking for feedback and this will enable me to work productively on tight schedule and contribute to the team.

“I have no dress except the one I wear every day. If you are going to be kind enough to give me one, please let it be practical and dark so that I can put it on afterwards to go to the laboratory.” (Marie Currie)

I have also strong soft-skills. I am thoroughly trained in public speaking and this will be useful to the whole team when we will be crafting out final pitch for the presentation at the Giant Jamboree. I am the most interested in delivering scientifically sound and exact data in a way that is easy to grasp and that allows listeners to emotionally connect to the underlying story. Furthermore, I am strong team player. I was doing team sports on competetive level for over 10 years and coached a team of 20 players.

Importnatly, I have been working hard on my songwriting skills lately such that ETH Zürich can finally produce iGEM music video on its own as well :D

To conclude, I have both the strong motivation as well as potential to postively contribute that are necessary to make me valuable memeber of ETH Zürich iGEM 2018 Team. I am ready to work hard together with the whole team towards desigining a novel biological system, translating it to DNA and testing it while having lots of fun.