December 20, 2018
Congratulations to a team of up and coming researchers from the University of British Columbia (UBC). Team “COOPTIMIZE,” represented by 15 students at varying stages of their UBC Science degrees, received a bronze medal at the 2018 International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition (iGEM) held in Boston, Massachusetts.
iGEM, is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to education, competition and the advancement of synthetic biology, all in an open collaborative community. Originally starting as a summer course at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2003, iGEM has expanded from a five-team competition in 2004 to over 300 teams and over 5000 participants from around the world in 2018.
This annual competition gives teams of students the opportunity to push boundaries of synthetic biology by tackling global challenges. Teams are also expected to complete a human practices component which includes assessing the ethical and societal implications of the technology.
Since 2009, when UBC began participating, UBC students have consistently received awards for their projects in this prestigious event. This year, the team’s research focused on creating a microbial co-culture system used to optimize production of Naringenin and Kaempferol ― valuable biochemicals with anti-cancer properties. You can learn more about this award winning project on the iGEM 2018 website.
Genome BC is proud to have supported the UBC Synthetic Biology Club at iGEM. Previous projects over the years have included developing novel biosensors for detecting infectious diseases, producing molecules to battle the Pine Beetle epidemic, building co-dependent bacterial communities, developing methods for mining and directed evolution and engineering probiotics for bees.