Good luck to the Macquarie iGEM team, who are on their way to Hong Kong for the regional jamboree of the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition. iGEM is a worldwide Synthetic Biology competition for teams of undergraduate students, where they try to build biological systems from standard, interchangeable parts and operate them in living cells.
This is the third year, we have sent teams to iGEM as part of our Biomolecular Sciences Capstone unit. In 2010, the MQ team won a bronze medal, an outstanding achievement for a first time competitor (equal best among Australian teams). The following year's team was able to build on their success and won a silver medal (which made them the top Australian team). This year, we're hoping the MQ team can do even better and Go for Gold! Hopefully, they will be better at that than the Australian swimming team in the London Olympics.
The 2012 Macquarie iGEM team have successfully engineeered a light sensitive genetic switch that turns on when exposed to light in the far red spectrum. For the full details see their wiki site. They have also been very successful in raising money to fund team members to go to the iGEM jamboree. They've done an outstanding job and we wish them the best of luck in Hong Kong!
|Strategy for constructing the light sensitive genetic switch (image taken from the iGEM team wiki site)|