Hi, we are iGEM Team Bonn.
As a student-based research team, we compete against others in geeky science projects.

What we do research on

Empire State Building
328m
Burj Khalifa
828m
Paper recycled in 2013
1007m
An impressive 214,364,825 tons of paper were recycled in 2013 worldwide.
But although Chlorine has widely been banished from the recycling process, other harmful substances are still used. We want to tackle this issue by replacing those chemicals with enzymes.

Why enzymes? They are biological material, easy and cheap to dispose of. Plus, a variety of organisms already excel at producing them.

The process we envision

natural fuel
Natural resources serve as a cost-effective nutrition to initiate an isolated growth of microorganisms.
inexpensive bacterial production
A continuous and fully isolated synthesis of enzymes is achieved as our microorganisms naturally secrete their proteins.
specific enzymatic deinking
Solely the secreted enzymes will be transferred to the deinking facility where they detach ink particles from paper through specific cleavage of paper components.
biodegradable waste
Apart from ink particles, the remaining waste is composed exclusively of non-hazardous and biodegradable materials.

Enzymes do make a difference in paper recycling

energy savings
8,000,000 MWh
per year
The yearly energy demand of 5 Million people.
less mercury
10,000 t saved
per year
5x the mercury in the yearly German energy-saving bulb waste.
whiter paper
2% increase

Yes, really! Enzymatic deinking is reported to yield paper up to 2% whiter than conventional deinking approaches.

Allow us to introduce ourselves

Niklas Schmacke
M.Sc. Life and Medical Sciences
Max Schelski
M.Sc. Neuroscience
Sophia Mädler
B.Sc. Molecular Biomedicine
Niklas fulfills a mentor role in our team bringing people to develop their full potential.
His extensive lab experience made him an ideal candidate for lab introductions for new team members and his calm presence will aid him in overcoming future problems and bringing labwork onto the right track. The working atmosphere is lightened through his humorous manner, while his creativity is expressed through his extensive involvement in the website design and its implementation.
Max is the pacemaker of our team, keeping everyone on track and focused through his decisive (assertive) manner, all the while making sure that everyone can keep up. His logical way of thinking and seemingly endless knowledge about Applied Biology are crucial for the development of our project and his experience with iGEM projects in the past are a valuable asset to improve our planning process.
Closely connected to almost every aspect of our project, Sophia is the motherboard of our team with an expertise that is applicable to the whole spectrum. Whether it comes down to the representation of our project or to conquering hunger with her baked goods, the result is always appealing. Her flexible attitude towards every task and her professional skills make her a vital building block of our team.
Our suit-wearing Russian, Pavel, with his level-headed and thoughtful manner keeps everyone on the same page through his precise (and correct) explanation of key concepts/ideas during meetings. His adventurous spirit, superior skills by Lasertag and his cannily accurate voice imitations of movie characters has granted him the nickname Batman.
Jan Hansen
B.Sc. Molecular Biomedicine
Cathleen Hagemann
B.Sc. Biology
Katrin Ciupka
B.Sc. Applied Biology
Jan plays an essential role in all creative processes involved in our project. Through his direct personality he looks to the core of the problem and finds innovative solutions which he can help implement through his technical skills. Additionally, his interest in photography provides our team with the necessary images for websites and flyers.
Due to her programming skills, Cathleen is an essential member of the website design team - implementing all the creative ideas that come up. Once she comes out of her shell she is a very communicative person who is very helpful and enjoys all the technical aspects of our project.
Professional in public relations, responsible with finances and a generally joyful persona are all aspects that come together with Katrin. Her involved attitude enabled her to become one of the most committed and crucial team players in our relationship with the Hochschule in Rheinbach. Her priceless mentality makes her a motivating source for all team members to join our social events.
Balthasar is a limitless source of bizarre facts, including things that you always wanted to know, things you wish you could forget and many things essential to our project. His thirst for knowledge, interest in all things scientific and his willingness to try even daring things out are essential qualities that he brings to our team.
Guido de Boer
B.Sc. Applied Biology
Benedikt Hölbling
B.Sc. Molecular Biomedicine
Mariya Chernyavska
B.Sc. Applied Biology
Guido is the creative design specialist of our team. With his extensive knowledge of all the necessary tools for digital design he is irreplaceable for developing graphic representations of our project, such as our logo. With his open and cheerful spirit he makes everyone laugh, all the while being very reliable and precise about his work. He even goes so far as to bike the 20km to Rheinbach to join in a meeting - the bicycle maybe being a tribute to his dutch roots.
It should come to no surprise that Benedikt's calm presence is but a mask for a highly reliable and motivated member of our team. With his international experience, not a single task has been unfulfilled as the boundaries of his abilities have still not been met.
Mariya can be considered the personification of dedication, whereas stamina is not far behind. Her enthusiastic mindset makes her wary for wasting a single minute in the lab. With the highest quality set as the standard she oversees the micromanagement and promotional work on social media both efficiently and skillfully. Her experiences in management from her previous study in Ukraine enables her to play a vital role in the project.
Ashwin through his inner balance, grounds the team and often gives the final input (push) to bring us past potential dead ends. His happy go lucky attitude complements the driven focus of the team and calms tempers, lightening the mood and leading to a productive working atmosphere.
Alena is a very quiet and collected person, who despite seeming to have her thoughts in the clouds often gives the necessary impulses to further discussions. She is driven by her focus and her goal to fulfil everything to the best of her abilities, making her a valuable addition to our team.

Our work is made possible by