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November 18, 2009

Team Minnesota awarded a Gold Medal

Team Minnesota

TEAM MINNESOTA was awarded a Gold Medal at the 2009 International Genetically Engineered Machines competition (iGEM). 120 teams competed from around the world, constructing and testing synthetic biological systems. Living organisms that are engineered with these synthetic systems behave like engineering devices, such as logical gates, clocks, computers and toggle switches.

The Minnesota team of seven undergraduate and four graduate students, guided by Professor Yiannis Kaznessis (Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science) were awarded the Gold Medal for their work on SynBioSS, a software tool that assists in designing and constructing synthetic biological systems.

iGEM provides a wonderful opportunity to merge engineering and biological sciences and to build biological systems that respond to our signals in a precise manner. The students of the Minnesota team are majoring in chemical engineering, molecular biology, mathematics, biomedical engineering and chemistry. Working for ten weeks during the summer of 2009, they had an opportunity to train in interdisciplinary science at the crossroads of engineering and biology. Six of them went to the 2009 iGEM Jamboree in Boston, MA, where they presented their work to the synthetic biology community.

The 2009 Minnesota iGEM team was supported by the University of Minnesota Bioinformatics Summer Institute (a NSF-NIH funded program), the Digital Technology Center, the BioTechnology Institute, the Institute of Technology and the Office of the Vice President of Research.