Emory iGEM: Solving Issues with Synthetic Biology
What is Emory iGEM?
Each year, a team of Emory undergraduates—uniquely interested in biotechnology, public health, and environmental safety—presents a research project at the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Competition in Boston, an annual jamboree that draws thousands of high school and college students from over 40 countries to showcase their work. Attending the iGEM Competition provides numerous educational opportunities, from networking with major biotech companies and potential employers and connecting with a diverse group of like-minded students and experts to witnessing the newest breakthroughs in science and technology. A truly noteworthy project might even be published in a renowned peer-reviewed scientific journal!
Each year, Emory’s iGem team attempts to solve a perceived problem in our community. Last year, we helped optimize the water filtration system at the WaterHub, Emory’s on-campus wastewater facility, by investigating how genetically engineered bacteria interacted with natural bacteria already in the water.
Our current project focuses on how bacteria in the guts of animals can counter toxins, especially harmful pesticides. We hope to show that genetically modifying gut bacteria can protect a host animal from otherwise lethal doses of a toxin like malathion, a commonly used insecticide. We have devised methods to modify the DNA of the bacteria Lactobacillus plantarum to allow it to break down and neutralize the toxin in fruit flies. We then propose that the gut bacteria of other animals can also be genetically modified to protect the hosts from a wide range of toxins.
How your support helps us
Participating in the iGEM Competition allows our team members to develop as independent scientists, business people, and problem-solving thought leaders in our community; it provides an invaluable opportunity to grow, learn, and solve real-world problems.
The Emory iGEM team needs your financial support to cover our project expenses—from the hard cost of materials for research, to travel, lodging, and the registration fees of the competition itself. In past years, we paid these costs out of our own pockets, a large financial burden that limits conference participation to students who can afford it. To fully represent the best of Emory, and for all of our team members to attend the iGEM Competition in Boston this fall, we need your support.