What is iGEM? It is an international competition that focuses on “Genetically Engineered Machines” and how they might be employed for useful applications (http://igem.org). The UT Austin iGEM team is composed of undergraduate students with an interest in synthetic biology, which can include, biochemistry, molecular biology, microbiology and many other fields.
Participation in the UT Austin iGEM team is an opportunity for a long-term mentored research experience for advanced students. Each year the team develops one or more projects in the spring, based on their ideas. Students are strongly encouraged to sign up for CH 391L Synthetic Biology to learn about current developments in the field of synthetic biology and receive related laboratory training. During the summer the undergraduate students work 20-40+ hours on their project(s). In the fall, the team travels to present their research at the 2014 iGEM Jamboree, which includes >150 teams from around the world. iGEM projects often result in opportunities to become a co-author on a scientific paper as an undergraduate.
Past examples of iGEM team projects have involved a caffeine-addicted E. coli that can measure how much caffeine is in your espresso and systems for expanding the genetic code of E. coli with a "sticky" amino acid to make glue proteins!
** Example publication with iGEM co-authors:
Quandt, et al. (2013) Decaffeination and Measurement of Caffeine Content by Addicted Escherichia coli with a Refactored N-Demethylation Operon from Pseudomonas putida CBB5. ACS Synthetic Biology 2:301-307.
Read article: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/sb4000146
** Articles about the iGEM team and their work:
** The main iGEM project for 2014 will likely involve a new application of incorporating a 21st amino acid with a unique chemical property into proteins in E. coli.
TO APPLY BY JANUARY 8, 2014:
See instructions at http://barricklab.org/iGEM
Spring 2014 through Fall 2014
Please see http://www.barricklab.org/igem for complete details.
I'M INTERESTED IN THIS PROJECT. WHAT SHOULD I DO NEXT?
The Office of Undergraduate Research recommends that you attend an info session or advising before contacting faculty members or project contacts about research opportunities. We'll cover the steps to get involved, tips for contacting faculty, funding possibilities, and options for course credit. Once you have attended an Office of Undergraduate Research info session or spoken to an advisor, you can use the "Who to contact" details for this project to get in touch with the project leader and express your interest in getting involved.