Meeting in Athens from 09.04. – 20.04.2024

For the sixth meeting in the two years-long project „European Challenges in Gene Editing by CRISPR“, the Erasmus+ team met at 2nd Model High School of Athens to the execution of a lab-workshop with again pioneer character. For the first time on international level did students perform a CRISPR/Cas in vivo experiment.

The students and their teachers from France, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Poland, Slovakia and Czech Republic were warmly welcomed by the Greek hosts. Most of the students from abroad were invited to live in Greek host families and made an unforgettable experience in the families. We were especially happy about the participation of our American CRISPR specialist and friend Murray Brockman. For introduction he held an impressive speech together with four mentors about CRISPR in nature.

From 09.04.2024 – 20.04.2024 the, in January 2024 in Czestochowa developed education unit on the topic of CRISPR in vivo, was conducted and evaluated by this way. Besides the practical execution of the experiment, education material was presented and thus put to the test.

The laboratory internship was instructed by an international mentor team, consisting of students from Greece, Czech Republic and Slovakia. During the first step of the multiple day-long lab internship the target gene lacZ of E. coli was edited by CRISPR in the living organism. LacZ-gene is coding for ß-galactosidase, an enzyme which hydrolyzes lactose in glucose and galactose which is necessary for energy winning of the bacteria. Successful gene editing after heat shock transformation with a gene taxi coding for a guide RNA targeting lacZ-gene was made visible by blue white screening.

In the second step of the workshop we confirmed lacZ-gene status on genetic level by PCR of blue and white colonies. The successful synthesis of the PCR products were verified by means of gel-electrophoresis.

Supported by the PCR results the precise cut of the Endonuclease CRISPR/Cas9 could be exactly proven by 14 out of the 20 international workgroups. The results of all 20 workgroups see results of CRISPR in vivo.

At the 10th Athens Science Festival we were invited to participate with an exhibition stand about our Erasmus project work. Hundreds of visitors were interested in our work and came to our stand. They were invited to do pipetting, gel-electrophoresis, cutting DNA with CRISPR and many activities more. So it was a perfect publicity for our project work.

The meeting was rounded off by the visit of the world renowned Akropolis in the center of Athens and a bus trip to Poseidon temple in Sounio and a wonderful final dinner at which we could reflect the impressive experiences of this workshop.

At the end of the meeting all participants were on the same page that the shared development of educational material on CRISPR/Cas9 was enabled thanks to the funding of the European Union and the pioneer work was to the benefit of all the international students.