Congratulations to UVa's iGEM team for receiving a Gold Medal at the 2017 iGEM Competition, held November 9-13 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. The International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Competition is an annual research contest in synthetic biology, which is an area of interdisciplinary study at the interface of biology and engineering in which designer molecules and cells are engineered from standardized parts to solve global problems. This year, more than 5000 students from 300+ institutions and 44 countries competed. The Virginia iGEM team presented “Sewage PD", a novel biological device to substantially reduce the cost of wastewater treatment. For their design and research, UVa was nominated for Best Environmental Project and for Best BioBrick Part. A BioBrick part is a functional genetic element; in competition, it is evaluated for design, characterization, and potential for future use. This was the 11th consecutive year UVa has participated in the worldwide competition. While in Boston, students visited MIT to explore graduate research opportunities as well as met with UVA-iGEM program alumni. Prior to starting summer/fall research, students complete BIOL4770 – Synthetic Biology, which is offered each spring.
Representing UVa in Boston were Ilya Andreev (Physics/Mathematics), Christia Aspili (Cognitive Science), Lauren Harkins (Biomedical Engineering), David Johanson (Biology/Statistics), Steven Scherping III (Biology), Vikram Seshadri (Biomedical Engineering), and Eric Wang (Chemistry). The Virginia iGEM advisors are Profs. Keith Kozminski (Biology) and Jason Papin (Biomedical Engineering). Click here to learn more about iGEM at UVa.