Uiowa iGem


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Welcome! We are Iowa’s 2018 iGEM Team – a group of 12 undergraduate students at the University of Iowa, pursuing studies from a variety of disciplines, including biology, engineering, anthropology, chemistry and more. We have come together to compete in the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Competition. We are a second year team from the University of Iowa who are excited to compete in this world renowned synthetic biology competition.

Although we are working with faculty advisers from four different departments here at UI, this project is primarily student-driven and will demonstrate the excellence of Iowa research and the potential of Iowa undergraduates on an international scale.

About the International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition

iGEM is an international synthetic biology competition where student teams, from across the world, work during the summer to build a microbe that carries out some sort of ‘programmed’ function (something that the specific microbe would not normally be able to do). iGEM was founded at MIT in 2003. Last year, 340 teams from around the world entered the competition, creating microbes that can sense atmospheric carbon monoxide, clean up wine stains, convert sugar into biofuels or medicines, and much more. These teams ranged from Pakistan, Kenya, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and dozens of other countries. Last year, the competition expanded to Iowa – we had the first team to ever compete in this competition from the state. Teams and projects are entirely student-initiated and driven, and the tasks that students undertake gives undergraduates the chance to explore synthetic biology through independent research. The competition provides students with an opportunity to develop academic and organizational skills and promotes the values of integrity, good sportsmanship, respect, honesty, celebration, cooperation, effort, and excellence.

About Synthetic Biology

Synthetic biology is a maturing scientific discipline that combines science and engineering to design and build novel biological functions and systems. This includes the design and construction of new biological parts, devices, systems, as well as the re-design of existing natural biological systems for useful purposes. It is a multidisciplinary field requiring expertise in biology, chemistry, engineering, and mathematics.