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OxiGEM claim gold

iGEM team from the University of OxfordThe first ever iGEM team from the University of Oxford have returned home from the World Jamboree in Boston with a gold medal.

The team of 12 undergraduates, founded by two Biochemistry students from University College (Philipp Lorenz and Glen-Oliver Gowers), 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. iGEM is a 10-year old international competition in which 240 teams comprising 4,000 students spend the summer designing and implementing solutions to real-world problems using synthetic biology. Univ’s Siân McGibbon and Oliver Vince were also on the team.

OxiGEM, with the supervision of Dr George Wadhams and Dr Ciaran Kelly in the Armitage lab (Biochemistry), sought to tackle the problem of chlorinated solvents through the construction of a novel biosensor and simple waste-disposal unit for their safe degradation. They presented their results, which combined biochemistry, biological modelling, chemistry and policy and practices to a large audience and two poster sessions over the gruelling 5 day conference. Their hard work paid off in the end and the Oxford iGEM team were awarded a gold medal.

The team would like to thank their sponsors: the Oxford 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. In addition to this the team would like to thank their respective colleges for the support: University College, St John’s College, St Edmund’s Hall, Queen’s College, and Oriel College.

Professor Sansom, Head of the Biochemistry Department, said: “Congratulations […] this is a splendid achievement”

Published: 10 November 2014

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