geekStarter Community Highlights – June 2017

Meet our new teams…

Newly on-boarded teams at the collegiate and iGEM kickoff on June 11 in Calgary

Newly on-boarded teams at the collegiate and iGEM kickoff event on June 11 in Calgary

…and learn about their exciting projects.
Synthetic Biology Teams – Collegiate

This team wants to engineer bacteria to select and optimize drugs for the treatment of cancer. To be selected, a candidate drug will have to bind to its target inside the bacteria, which in turn will trigger the production of gas bubbles and make the bacteria float. The team plans to use the cells’ buoyancy to screen and optimize the cancer drugs using a process called directed evolution, which they intend to automate.  

This will be the second year in a row the iGEM team from University of Calgary will be working on a space travel application. This year’s team plans to build a bacterial system for making biodegradable plastics out of bio-waste produced in space. They also want to make the bio-plastics production process easier and less toxic than currently available methods by programming the bacteria to self-lyse upon reaching saturation with bio-plastics.

This is the tenth year that University of Lethbridge participates in iGEM and, as befits this special occasion, the team plans to combine technologies developed by past ULethbridge iGEM teams into a capstone project. They want to develop an economically viable, cell-free kit for the detection of pathogens that will be safe and serve a wide range of users, from EMS vehicles to space stations. The team also plans to conduct a thorough review of current policies and practices relevant to synthetic biology and nano-technology applications. 
Synthetic Biology Teams – High School

The team wants to continue a project started last year, which is building a bacterial device that converts the toxic chemical perchlorate into chloride and oxygen. Originally intended for use on Mars, whose soil abounds in perchlorate, the system was designed to accomplish two goals: decontaminating the soil to make it suitable for growing plants, and producing life-sustaining oxygen gas. The team also plans to explore possible applications of their remediation system on Earth, and may try to optimize their genes using directed evolution in a bioreactor – provided help and expertise from UAlberta iGEM team. 

Setting an example for resourcefulness and enthusiasm: Urban Tundra

Setting an example for resourcefulness and enthusiasm: Team Urban Tundra iGEM

ACM ICPC World Finals Results are in...
Congratulations to Alberta Gold team from University of Alberta for getting an honorable mention at this tough event! Qualifying for the World Finals, and also getting direct exposure to projects IBM is working on, added up to an excellent experience overall which is bound to further the students’ careers.

Alberta Gold (in green) competes in ACM-ICPC World Finals

Alberta Gold (in green) at the ACM-ICPC World Finals

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