Welcome To The WISB iGEM Wiki Page

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The International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Competition

iGEM is an international genetic engineering competition that fosters scientific research and education by creating a community of young student researchers, and by operating the Registry of Standard Biological parts – an open source repository of DNA parts freely accessible to the participating teams and labs. You can find out more on the iGEM website. Teams are made up of undergraduate students from a number of disciplines – typically engineering, physics, chemistry, mathematics, computer science and biology. Teams design their own project, implement it during the summer, and travel to Boston to present their results at the iGEM “Jamboree”.

iGEM at the University of Warwick

Undergraduate students at the University of Warwick have participated in the iGEM competition for the past three years, winning two Gold medals and one Silver medal. In 2016 Warwick’s team were also nominated for best software tool.
Professor Alfonso Jaramillo leads the Warwick iGEM initiative, with support from WISB Post Doctoral Research Assistants and Principal Investigators.
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Our Team

The Team

This year our iGEM team consists of students from Biochemistry, Biomedical Sciences, Medical Microbiology & Virology, Life Sciences with Global Sustainable Development, and for the first time students from other disciplinaries; Computer Science, and Law.

The iGEM team will be assisted by Dr. Christopher Corre, Dr. Corinne Hanlon, and Dr.Alfonso Jaramillo and many other academics from within the University of Warwick.

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Our Plan

Our Goal

Our goal is to create a better future using synthetic biology to solve problems currently faced by the world today. For example, last year our iGEM team used E.coli to produce a biopolymer, which then in turn was used as the bio-ink for their 3D printer. Over the course of the summer months, the team relentlessly worked away in many labs around the campus to use this system for the creation of surface coatings with improved biocompatibility and osseointegration.

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Lab Diary

Development Diary

Our iGEM team has kept records of everything we have achieved so far, ranging from the first meetings to what will become the final product. An up to date diary of these events can be found below.

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When we have some you'll be the first to know!

Project Description

The theme of our iGEM entry this year is water safety. In particular, we will focus on using synthetic biology to achieve two goals. The first of these goals is to develop a novel method for detecting Legionella spp. in water systems, with the ability to distinguish between live and dead bacteria. Legionella is the bacteria that is responsible for causing Legionnaire’s disease in humans – a disease that causes pneumonia. It lives only in aquatic environments, usually as an intracellular parasite of protozoa such as amoebas. Legionnaire’s disease currently has no vaccine, so prevention relies on maintenance of Legionella spp. free water supplies. Currently we are looking at detecting Legionella mRNA using a complementary guide RNA that activates dCas9 when binding, to express GFP on a plasmid.

Our second goal is to develop and sequence a strain of E. coli that can utilise oestrogen as a source of carbon. Modern practises of society including agriculture and pharmaceuticals have increased the level of oestrogen in natural water sources such as rivers and lakes. This poses a large risk to aquatic species, especially fish, and has been shown to cause collapse of fish populations. We aim to investigate genetically modified bacteria as a potential starting point for a solution to this problem. By using directed evolution, we aim to synthesise a strain of E. coli that has the ability to use oestrogen as a carbon source, and then use sequencing to observe and study the genetic changes that allow it to do so.