UMD Sends First-Ever iGEM Team to International Competition

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L to R: Kahn, Taira, Gordonov, Zhu, Biswas, Vlasov, Bhargav, Barber, and Eisenstein.

The University of Maryland, College Park, sent its first-ever team to the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition this year, held at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston.

Taking place Oct. 30—Nov. 3, this year's competition featured 295 teams from across the globe, including 245 teams that attended the convention. This preeminent event engages student-led teams from major universities worldwide to present novel synthetic biology projects focused on addressing real-world problems. 

UMD team members Iowis Zhu (Integrated Life Sciences program), Nathan Barber (BioE), Adip Bhargav (Integrated Life Sciences program), Janine Taira (Integrated Life Sciences program), Aditya Biswas (Integrated Life Sciences program and BioE), Andrew Zhao (BioE), and Pavel Vlasov (Integrated Life Sciences program), and advisors Jason Kahn (Chemistry and Biochemistry), Ed Eisenstein (Bioengineering), Boots Quimby (Integrated Life Sciences program) and Tanya Gordonov (BioE graduate student) earned a gold medal for their work developing an E.coli biosensor to detect the presence of the oyster pathogen Perkinsus marinus, commonly found in Maryland's Chesapeake Bay.

The team developed the project, performed lab research over the summer, raised $26,000 for lab supplies and travel costs, conducted an extensive study of human practices related to the project, developed a Wiki page, and presented a poster and presentation at the competition.

Published November 6, 2014