iGEM TU Eindhoven is a student team that yearly participates in the world’s largest International Genetic Engineered Machine (iGEM) Competition (350+ teams, 40+ teams). Each year, the team tackles a real-world problem using genetic engineering and synthetic biology. Together with input from stakeholders we design, build, test, and measure a biological system using interchangeable biological parts and standard molecular biology techniques.
Synthetic biology is adjusting the DNA of an organism to give it a new or better function.
Synthetic biology is a new rising topic that has great potential to solve everyday issues. By participating in the iGEM Competition our student team designs inventive genetically engineered machines to solve the problems. In past years, the iGEM TU Eindhoven team has focussed on solving current real-world problems in the field of healthcare by, for example, diagnostics or therapies for life-threatening diseases. By means of interaction with stakeholders we try to maximize the impact on worldwide healthcare.
An iGEM project involves a product design cycle including ideation, validation, and prototyping. Each team is allowed to come up with its own project. During this process engagement with stakeholders is of great importance to define and validate the idea. The team will build and test the system in the lab, analyze the results, and eventually, communicate and present the project at the final event in Paris.
Besides building the system in the lab, an iGEM project has many more aspects such as raising funds, controlling public relations, educating society about synthetic biology, organizing events, modeling, and building a solid business case.
Stimulating innovation in the field of healthcare and pushing the boundaries of synthetic biology.
Eindhoven iGEM’s history
Every year, an iGEM Eindhoven student team participates in the International Genetic Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition.
The iGEM competition was organized for the first time in 2003 by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The aim was to encourage students to try to solve real-world problems using genetically engineered organisms. It has grown enormously over the years and is now the largest synthetic biology competition, with more than 360 teams participating from all over the world yearly.
Since 2012, Eindhoven University of Technology participates in the iGEM competition. Each year, a new student team starts with their own research project. With support from the academic staff of the Institute of Complex Molecular Systems, over the years the Eindhoven teams have accomplished promising results and have won multiple prizes in numerous categories, some of which include: Best New Application, Best Innovation in Measurement, Best Supporting Entrepreneurship, Best Model etc.
The iGEM year
The iGEM year consists of three sections:
1. Team formation, brainstorming and project planning
2. Lab work and data analysis
3. Jamboree preparation.
Each section is linked to a relative time period. How long each time period exactly is, is up to the teams to determine.
In iGEM, students are the head scientist of their project. This means that the students brainstorming can go in any direction they wish. Of course, they are free to ask senior scientists for help and guidance along the way.
Once the project is formed, the required background research has been done and the sponsoring for your project is funded, the next phase can begin: The project development. This often includes lab work or the building and testing of a prototype. This phase is usually done in the summer months, i.e. the summer holidays of most students.
After the summer months, all the teams work has to be presented on the teams wiki page. This is where the team will be judged upon – So, if it’s not on the wiki, it didn’t happen! Next to showing the project’s results on the wiki, every team gets the chance to give an oral presentation in front of the jury and the other teams.
The iGEM competition is held annualy. The Grand Jamboree has been and will be held in Paris for the comming few years. The Grand Jamboree is the grand finale, where all teams will present their work and hope to win awards and medals in the many different categories, but most importantly get to know like-minded iGEM enthusiasts.
For more information also see the iGEM main page.