Wednesday, 09 November 2011 13:58

University of Lethbridge iGEM Team top Canadian team at International Synthetic Biology Competition

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The University of Lethbridge’s International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) team is the top team in Canada, and has made it to the top  eight per cent of all teams entered at the International Genetically Engineered Machines competition in Boston, Massachusetts, which wrapped up Nov. 7.

The team is travelling back to Lethbridge today and can be available of interviews on reasonable notice on Wednesday, Nov.9.

They presented their most recent research on a petrochemical-eating bacteria their group has designed,  and how it could be used to help clean up water in tailings ponds – a byproduct of the bitumen refining process in which water that cannot be recycled is deposited into large ponds to settle.  Their  work has attracted attention and funding from  several organizations, including the Oil Sands Initiative.
The U of L  team is made up of primarily undergraduate students, who  operate their own lab and work on  the iGEM projects on their own time.  

The group was the only Canadian team to place in the top 16  teams among 66 final competitors from around the world. Called the "Sweet 16", the Lethbridge team is in good company:

Imperial College London
Johns Hopkins
Paris Bettencourt
Peking R
Tokyo Tech
UC Davis

The U of L team has  also recently won an Alberta-wide competition and were one of four top-level finalists at a recent "Americas" gathering in Indianapolis, IN, where they placed with Brown-Stanford, the University of Washington and Yale University in the final four among more than 70 teams from North, Central and South America.

The International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition (iGEM) is the premiere Synthetic Biology competition and currently the largest Synthetic Biology conference in the world.

Working at their own schools over the summer, participants use standard biological parts to design, build, and operate biological systems in living cells.  During the first weekend of November, they share their work at the iGEM Competition Jamboree at MIT and in competition for a variety of awards for excellence. They add their new parts to the Registry of Standard Biological Parts for the students in the next year's competition.

To check out the U of L's results, please follow this link:

To learn more about the U of L iGEM team, please visit these websites:

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