2019 iGEM synthetic biology team

This project is closed.

What is iGEM?

iGEM is an international synthetic biology competition that focuses on how genetic engineering of cells can be employed for useful applications (http://igem.org). The UT Austin iGEM team is composed of undergraduate students with an interest in bacterial synthetic biology, which can include research related to biochemistry, bioengineering, molecular biology, computational biology, microbiology and many other fields.

Participation in iGEM at UT is an in-depth year-long research experience, beginning with a crash course in synthetic biology during the spring semester, continuing with part-time or full-time research during the summer, and finishing with a presentation of the project at the iGEM Jamboree in Oct/Nov. Successful students often continue their research projects beyond the iGEM team to publish scientific papers.

The UT Austin iGEM project for 2019 will involve high-throughput profiling and prediction of the burden/stability of different DNA devices in bacterial cells. The goal is to profile and improve the reliability of different genetic "parts" for the synthetic biology community. To help with this project, the team is specifically looking for students with computational skills (scripting in Python, data analysis in R, web design)!

Past examples of UT Austin iGEM team projects have involved creating a E. coli "addicted" to caffeine to measure how much caffeine is in beverages, using systems for expanding the genetic code of E. coli with "sticky" amino acid to make glue proteins, and genetically engineering member of the symbiotic microbial community found in Kombucha! Students will have opportunities to explore new research areas of their own design that could form the basis of iGEM projects in future years.

See the project website for more examples and information.


The 2019 iGEM team is specifically looking for students with computational skills (scripting in Python, data analysis in R, web design).

To apply, send us:
1) A resume (or CV) and a short (<1-page) statement about why you are interested in synthetic biology.
2) Your resume/CV should include your GPA, your expected semester & year of graduation, and what science-related courses you are taking in Fall 2018 and plan to take in Spring 2019.
3) As part of the short statement, please (A) describe any past research experiences and/or other experience that will make you a great iGEM teammate. (B) Describe an idea you have for a possible iGEM project or idea for how you would use synthetic biology to benefit society.

Project Timeline

2019 Spring: Crash course in synthetic biology and iGEM (Commitment 1-hr week lecture; optional lab module of ~15 hours)
2019 Summer: Part-time to full-time research on iGEM project (Commitment: 20-40 hr/wk for 10 weeks)
2019: Fall: Finish research project, presentation, poster, and website. Selected students travel to the Jamboree in Boston. (Commitment: ~10 hr/week)

Please see http://www.barricklab.org/igem for more details.


Do not apply unless you are available for research during spring, summer, and fall 2019.

Desired Length of Commitment
1 year (including summer)


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.