The International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to education and competition, the advancement of synthetic biology, and the development of an open community and collaboration.
Every year iGEM run a competition, which comprises of international teams, predominately of synthetic biology students. This competition brings together young scientists from around the world and addresses global challenges through the engineering of biological parts.
This year the aim of the Nottingham iGEM team's project focuses on developing a strain of bacteria which could be used to safely monitor the likelihood of botulinum neurotoxin production in food.The reporter strain will be modified to produce the volatile gas, acetone, which will be produced when induced by the transcription factor BotR.
In November 2019, the team will present their project, ‘NoTox - a nose ahead in food safety’, at the Jamboree in Boston, to over 6000 attendees.
For many of the students in this year’s team, this will be their first time presenting at an international and prestigious event. They hope to follow in the footsteps of last year’s iGEM team and bring home a gold medal!
Read more about the project: NoTox - a nose ahead in food safety
The aim of the Nottingham iGEM 2018 team’s project, called Clostridium dTox; it’s not so difficile was to engineer a C. difficile bacteriophage (phage), to produce factors that would suppress toxin production. They demonstrated that the latest gene-editing techniques could be used to repress expression of both toxin genes (tcdAand tcdB) by targeting their mRNA.
The 2018 team was awarded a prestigious Gold Medal at the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition in Boston, USA.
The team was also nominated at iGEM for ‘Best New Composite Part’. A composite part is a functional unit of DNA consisting of two or more basic parts assembled together.
For the duration of their project the team were embedded within BBSRC/EPSRC Synthetic Biology Research Centre (SBRC) at Nottingham.
Read more about the project: Clostridium dTox; it’s not so difficile
This is the first year the University of Nottingham has taken part in the iGEM competition, the team is interdisciplinary comprising of biologists, engineers and computational scientists from around the University.
The team's project looked at transforming bacteria with a unique array of existing iGEM systems to produce a unique signal of secondary metabolites, initially using fluorescence as a proof of concept. Eventually, using the system to produce a unique and random configuration of products, as their "key". In order to produce this randomness, alteration of the activity/presence of promoters associated with these metabolites were applied using one of a few methods which were considered by the team.
The team worked over the summer months at the BBSRC/EPSRC Synthetic Biology Research Centre (SBRC) at Nottingham with the final product being presented at the annual Giant Jamboree in Boston, USA in November 2017.
Read more about the project: KEY.COLI