IBVs iGEM-team is going to Boston
Students from IBV are participating in an international competition in synthetic biology.
Foto: Gunhild Haugenes
The last preparations are being made for the end of the iGEM (international genetically engineered machine) competition in Boston. Will our team get a medal? The clock is ticking, and the last results are due.
This years iGEM team, Methane incorporated, wishes to reduce methane leakage from farms and industry. Methane is an extremely potent green house gas. Today methane is removed by burning it, which doesn´t actually solve the problem.
One of the ideas to reduce leakage is to create an air filter. This filter would contain bacteria, E. coli, that is capable of breaking down methane to methanol, and possibly from methanol to usefull biomass, such as sugar. Currently no such technology exist under normal temperature and pressure. Allthough this is a small scale system, this is a kind of technology that could change the amount of green house gasses that is emitted by humans. The air filter can be plased at vetnilation systems in a barn and reduce methane leakage in farms.
The idea is taken from a kind of single celled organisms called methanotrophs. They use methane as their energy source and break it down.
This years iGEM team has had a busy summer. They´ve been working hard in the lab, but they also took the time to gather for a nordic iGEM meet up in Uppsala in Sweden. They met most of the other nordic iGEM teams, but also one of the founders of the iGEM competition. He was one of the guys who has been developing the internet. Today he is working on developing synthetic biology, which might give us an idea of where this technology might be going.
iGEM as an idea
The iGEM-competition is an arena for people to explore the possibilities with synthetic biology. It is a competition, but unlike other competitions you have to collaborate with other teams to be qualified for the gold medal. The competitions was started at MIT (massachusets Institute of Technology) in 2003, but has grown to a worlwide competition today. At the University of Oslo you can participate in iGEM as a part of your degree. You get 10 studypoints for participating, but also experiences that other courses seldom offer like independence, interdisciplinary cooperation, international cooperation.
For our students the final exam, in you can call it an exam, will be the presentation of their project in Boston. Last year there were 2300 students gathered, and this year the number is expected to be even higher.
You can follow the team in social media for updates from Boston:
We´ll keep our fingers crossed for you guys! Enjoy Boston!