On the afternoon of October 28th, US estern time, the 15th International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Competition closed in Boston, USA. The NEU-CHINA-A team and the NEU-CHINA-B team, led by Dr Ding Chen, a professor from the College of Life and Health Sciences of Northeastern University, won the gold and silver prizes respectively.
Launched by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, iGEM requires teams to use standard biological modules to build genetic circuits and construct effective mathematical models to predict, manipulate and measure sophisticated complex biological systems.
Since November 2017, the two teams of Northeastern University have entered the preparation stage. The NEU-CHINA-A team focused on studying to use engineered bacteria alleviates the inflammatory bowel disease and prevents colorectal cancer; they used genetically engineered bacteria to release interleukin-10 to relieve inflammation. For the enteric disease, they prevented colorectal cancer by enhancing the content of sulforaphane in cruciferous vegetables. The NEU-CHINA-B team used genetically engineered E.coli L-Lactate Biosensor in food fermentation as a research topic to design a method for detecting lactic acid concentration using lldPRD lactic acid operon and Quorum Sensing system. Biosensors, which engineered bacteria carried Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) and fluorescence by rapid bioreaction, then the GFP signal was detected by fiber and converted it into an electrical current, so that the lactic acid concentration can be monitored quickly and easily. The research projects of these two teams have adopted the technical means in the field of computer and information science, and conducted in-depth research with the intersection of disciplines as the entry point. In the preparation process, the college organized several evaluation meetings, invited high-level professors of the College of Life and Health Sciences to serve as judges and exchanged guidance in English.
It is reported that iGEM is the world's top science and technology competition for international students in the field of synthetic biology. More than 4,000 university students from 343 teams from around the world participated in the competition. The research results of the participating teams were topped by Nature, Science, Scientific American, Economist and other top academic journals.