Oxford iGEM team wins Gold Medal at Boston Giant Jamboree
Some of the OxiGEM team spelling out their 'DCMation' concept
The first iGEM team from the University of Oxford has returned home from the iGEM Giant Jamboree 2014 in Boston with a gold medal.
The team of 12 undergraduates from Biochemistry, Engineering Science, Biology, Chemistry and Law was the first Oxford team to take part in the annual International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition.
In its tenth year, the competition has been incredibly successful and now attracts thousands of students. This year, around 240 teams comprising over 2,500 students from across 32 countries spent the summer designing and implementing solutions to real-world problems using synthetic biology.
OxiGEM, with the supervision of Dr George Wadhams and Dr Ciaran Kelly in the Armitage lab in the Department, tackled the problem of environmental pollution. Using an approach which they called 'DCMation', the group developed a novel biosensor and simple waste-disposal unit for the safe degradation of chlorinated solvents.
The team presented their results, which combine biochemistry, biological modelling, chemistry and policy and practices, to a large audience and at two poster sessions over the gruelling 5-day conference. Their hard work paid off and they were delighted with the award of a gold medal - recognition that they had achieved all the required goals of the competition and quite a feat for a first-time team.
OxiGEM team. Top row from left: Andrew Russell, Timothy Ang, Matthew Booth, Philipp Lorenz, Glen-Oliver Gowers, Dr Ciaran Kelly (supervisor), Jack Hoffman, Dr George Wadhams (supervisor), Sian McGibbon. Bottom: Leroy Lim, Francesca Donnellan, Emily Pritchett, Oliver Vince, Corinna Oswald
Professor Mark Sanson, Head of the Department, congratulated the team and said it was a splendid achievement.
The team would like to thank their sponsors, the Biochemistry Department, BBSRC, the Society for General Microbiology, the Wellcome Trust, The Biochemical Society, SnapGene, and Desktop Genetics, without whom the project would not have been possible. They are also grateful for the support of their colleges: University, St John's, St Edmund Hall, Queen's, and Oriel college.
For more details about the project, see the team's wiki at: http://2014.igem.org/Team:Oxford
The team's poster can be viewed here
For further information about the iGEM competition, see their website