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Hello there alum Elsa Arksand!

Portrait of Elsa Arksand
Thanks to support from the KTH Opportunities Fund, Elsa Arksand's team was able to participate in the iGEM 2021 competition. For a year, the team in Albanova worked on the Mikroskin project, in collaboration with experts from all over the world. The project was awarded the gold medal of the competition. "We focused on acne in our project. Through Mikroskin, we wanted to shed light on different skin diseases, to break the stigma often associated with them and to find new treatment methods."
Published Mar 01, 2024

You led the team that won gold in iGEM Stockholm, one of the world's largest student competitions in the field of synthetic biology. How would you describe the societal problem the team tackled?

“Skin diseases, such as acne and eczema, affect up to a third of the population and affect people both physically and mentally. The team wanted to address the problem and pave the way for personalized, affordable and accessible care for skin-related conditions."

How would you describe the Mikroskin  project?
"The skin contains bacteria and other microorganisms that make up our skin's so-called microbiota. We studied the possibility that skin conditions can be linked to an imbalance, dysbiosis, in the microbiota, and then investigated different ways of more effective treatment."

"We saw that comparing measurements and data can help build a knowledge base about skin diseases and their causes. This could be used to create a more personalized treatment and lead to reduced antibiotic use. In our iGEM project, we wanted to create a quick and user-friendly test to detect imbalances in the skin microbiota."

What do you view as the most valuable experience of the project from a student and researcher perspective?

"I really appreciated the helpfulness, innovation and drive of the iGEM community. We also had successful collaborations with several other teams, such as attending workshops, organizing presentations and providing feedback."
"In addition, several outside experts, such as doctors, professors and dermatologists, helped give the team direction and perspective in the project work."

What are your future plans?
"I personally enjoy the world of R&D and at the same time like to see how things are connected. Right now I have a consulting assignment as a Scrum Master at Scania's battery testing department. The work environment is characterized by a rapid drive forward. I hope that in the future I can continue to dive into exciting technology and contribute to a more sustainable society."

Thanks to support from the KTH Opportunities Fund, your team was able to participate in the 2021 competition. Do you have a message for donors?
"The sum from the donors, 50 000 crowns, made it possible for our team to register the competition entry, for which we were later awarded a gold medal. I want to thank the donors immensely for the support that gave us an opportunity to participate in iGEM 2021."

Katarina Ahlfort
Photo: Jesper Lundberg

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Last changed: Mar 01, 2024