Students from Groningen put in a superb performance at the international Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM 2009) competition in Boston. The University of Groningen team was one of the six finalists, chosen from a field of 110 from universities in the US, Europe, Asia, South America and Australia. First prize went to the team from Cambridge, while Groningen commendably tied for fourth place.
The team from Groningen also received a gold medal, because their design was judged to be an entry that belonged in the top (gold) category.
The iGEM is an annual contest for students of Synthetic Biology. Contestants take part in a research project in which a bacterium is designed or redesigned in a way so that it can fulfil a certain function. The research is then presented at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, where the iGEM was held this year between 31 October and 2 November.
Students taking part in the iGEM competition receive a kit containing biological parts and components from MIT’s Registry of Standard Biological Parts at the beginning of the summer. During the summer they use these in their own designs in order to create biological systems.
The Groningen students competed with an E. coli bacterium that they had modified so that it could remove arsenic, zinc and copper from polluted water. The bacterium absorbs the metals from the water and simultaneously produces gas in its cell body which causes it to float and thus become easy to remove.
The Groningen team consisted of eleven students from various degree programmes (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Computing Science, Psychology, Biomedical Engineering).
More information: email@example.com or Prof. Oscar Kuipers, tel. 050-363 2093/2092, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
See also www.igem.org and http://2009.igem.org/Team:Groningen/Team
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