International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) at Illinois

Team members and advisors from the UIUC-Illinois International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) team speak about their experiences working and competing as part of the group.


The International Genetically Engineered Machine competition (iGEM) is the premiere undergraduate Synthetic Biology competition. Student teams are given a kit of biological parts at the beginning of the summer from the Registry of Standard Biological Parts. Working at their own schools over the summer, they use these parts and new parts of their own design to build biological systems and operate them in living cells. This project design and competition format is an exceptionally motivating and effective teaching method.

The group is composed of interdisciplinary undergraduates, and receives advisement from faculty. They construct and operate biological systems in living cells to promote the advancement of synthetic biology education. Past projects include a bacterial filing cabinet, a bacterial decoder, a model-guided cellular engineering web program, and a medical biosensor. Faculty advisers from Bioengineering, Agricultural & Biological Engineering, Food Science & Human Nutrition, Business Administration, and more help guide the team through requirements.