2022 iGEM synthetic biology team

Although the application date for this project is past, the project is still ongoing. You may still wish to contact this professor about other ways of getting involved with this work. Please attend an info session or contact email for more information.

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 idea generation in Nov-Dec, transitioning to 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.

Students will have opportunities to explore new research areas of their own 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, engineering bacterial viruses, and delivering genes to degrade plastic and oil pollution to bacteria! See the project website for more examples and information.


The 2022 iGEM team is looking for students with experience one or more of these areas: biological/chemical engineering, molecular biology, biochemistry, synthetic biology, entrepreneurship, computation (ex: scripting in Python, data analysis in R, web design).

In general, you should be a sophomore or junior to apply.

To apply, email the following to jbarrick@cm.utexas.edu and dennis.mishler@utexas.edu:

(1) A resume or CV

Your resume/CV should include your GPA, your expected semester & year of graduation, and what science-related courses you are taking in Fall 2021 and plan to take in Spring 2022.

(2) A short (<1-page) statement about why you are interested in synthetic biology

In this statement describe: (A) Any past research experiences and/or other experience that will make you a great iGEM teammate. (B)  An idea you have for a possible iGEM project and/or idea for how you would like to use synthetic biology to benefit society.

Project Timeline

2021 Fall (Nov-Dec): Apply for team. Idea generation and tryouts (Commitment: 1-hr week discussion)

2022 Spring: One credit hour crash course in synthetic biology and iGEM (Commitment: 1-hr week lecture; optional lab module of ~15 hours if allowed by COVID-19 restrictions)

2022 Summer: Part-time to full-time research on iGEM project (Commitment: 20-40 hr/wk for at least 10 weeks)

2022: Fall: Finish research project, presentation, poster, and website. Selected students travel to the iGEM Giant Jamboree. (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 2022.

Typical Time Commitment
See Project Timeline
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.

Have you tried contacting professors and need more help? Schedule an appointment for additional support.