Students Take Part in Synthetic Biology Competition

A team of UC Davis undergraduates recently competed in the annual iGEM ‘Synthetic Biology’ competition at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Team UC Davis UC Davis IGEM Team 2010was among about a third of the competing teams from around the world to be awarded a gold medal for their work.

The aim of iGEM, or the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition, is to use a biological kit of parts to build a system and make it work in living cells.

The UC Davis team included students Tim Fenton, Keegan Owsley, Arjun Nair, Jennifer Lau Holly Lam and Justin Tangiogloc, and was advised by Marc Facciotti, assistant professor of biomedical engineering and Ilias Tagkopoulos, assistant professor of computer science. Facciotti and Tagkopoulos also have appointments at the UC Davis Genome Center.

“It’s an excellent learning opportunity for undergraduates, as well as for the graduate students who mentor them,” Tagkopoulos said.

The team’s project was to make a lawn of E. coli bacteria organize themselves into colored stripes when stimulated with light. They worked in Facciotti and Tagkopoulos’ shared lab space over the summer and presented their results at the iGEM jamboree at MIT, Nov. 5-8.

More information: Team UC Davis homepage

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