2024 iGEM synthetic biology team

This project is closed.


What is iGEM? iGEM is an international synthetic biology competition that focuses on how genetic engineering can be used to solve real-world problems (http://igem.org). The award-winning UT Austin iGEM team is composed of diverse undergraduate students from many different majors with interests in bacterial synthetic biology projects that may incorporate biochemistry, bioengineering, molecular biology, computational biology, microbiology, science outreach, communication and many other fields.

Participation in iGEM at UT is an in-depth year-long 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 and development during the summer, and finishing with producing a website and presenting the project at the iGEM Grand Jamboree in Oct/Nov. Students often continue their research projects beyond the iGEM team to publish scientific papers.

Students will have opportunities to explore new research areas and perform science outreach to the public. Past examples of UT Austin iGEM team projects have involved creating bacterial biosensors that detect DNA from the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome in bats, engineering an 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 2024 iGEM team is looking for students from diverse backgrounds with interests in one or more of these areas: biological/chemical engineering, molecular biology, biochemistry, synthetic biology, entrepreneurship, design, computation (ex: scripting in Python, data analysis in R, web design), and science communication. There are also many ways of contributing to the iGEM team beyond performing lab research: by contacting stakeholders, communicating the impacts of the project, developing outreach materials, etc.

New for the 2024 team! iGEM will be organized as an Advanced Research Initiative (ARI). Application instructions and deadlines are posted here: https://fri.cns.utexas.edu/students/apply-spring 

Because of this change, you must be a sophomore or junior to apply. We cannot accept freshmen, even if you have had prior research experiences.

The deadline for applying for the 2024 iGEM Team has now passed. The next round of applications for the 2025 team will be in fall 2024.

If you want to be put on our mailing list to receive updates, including an invitation to events where you can meet current iGEM students, please email jbarrick@cm.utexas.edu and dennis.mishler@utexas.edu.

Project Timeline

2023 Fall: Apply for the team. Interview. Generate project ideas together. (Commitment: 1 hr/week discussion in Nov/Dec)

2024 Spring: Three credit Advanced Research Initiative (ARI) iGEM course. This course has lecture/discussion components in which students will develop project proposals by reading and discussing scientific and wet-lab components in which students learn and use methods for DNA assembly and genetic engineering of bacteria and begin their project. (Commitment per week: 2 hr of lab instruction + 4 hr of self-scheduled lab time, 1 hr of lecture/discussing + 2 hr of reading, writing, and research preparation.)

2024 Summer: Part-time to full-time research on iGEM project and work on science outreach and communication. We are usually able to offer at least partial summer research fellowships to support several students who we think will make the greatest contributions based on performance in the spring course. (Commitment: 20-40 hr/wk for at least 10 weeks)

2024: Fall: Finish research project, presentation, poster, and website. Selected students travel to the iGEM Grand Jamboree. (Commitment: ~10 hr/week)

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


Do not apply unless you are available to work on the project during Spring, Summer, and Fall 2024.

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.