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Illinois IGB

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Undergraduate and Graduate

Learning Through Experience

Engaging in laboratory research at the undergraduate and graduate level brings significant benefits, not the least of which is the value of receiving real-world work experience both inside and outside the classroom. Students at the IGB shape their plans for a postgraduate career and build valuable, lasting professional networks, working as a member of a larger collaborative effort and interacting with fellow students and faculty.

International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM)

The International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition is dedicated to education, advancement of synthetic biology, and the development of open community and collaboration. The IGB hosts an undergraduate team composed of students from a variety of colleges who conduct important synthetic biology research that has the potential to revolutionize the biotechnology industry. Since 2008, more than 50 undergrads have competed in the annual regional and international jamborees and have earned medals most years. Projects have included a bacterial filing cabinet, a bacterial decoder, a model-guided cellular engineering web program, and a medical biosensor.

Hear iGEM team members talk about their experience in our video here.

Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship Grant

The IGB, in partnership with the School of Integrative Biology,  received an Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) grant, awarded by the National Science Foundation, to provide research training to graduate students. This $3.2M grant, known as Vertically Integrated Training with Genomics (VInTG), provided support to up to 30 graduate students under the leadership of Principal Investigator Andrew Suarez, an IGB affiliate and associate professor of Animal Biology and Entomology. Built around two challenges facing biologists today—how genomes interact with the environment to produce biological diversity and how biological systems are integrated from molecules to ecosystems—the students’ training focused on providing a taxon-centered framework for them to build upon. Students were hosted in Panama at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), one of the world’s premier tropical research institutes and a partner in the grant. Students had access to STRI’s large, diverse and long-term study sites and databanks for a wide variety of organisms and ecosystems in Panama.

Summer internship for Indigenous peoples in Genomics

The Summer internship for Indigenous peoples in Genomics (SING) workshop is a one-week workshop that discusses the uses, misuses and limitations of genomics as a tool for indigenous peoples' communities. The short course also trains indigenous peoples to use concepts and methods currently employed in genomics.

The goals of the workshop include facilitating discussion about indigenous cultural values, exploring how science can be beneficially integrated with these values, and increasing their awareness of how genomics is currently used as a tool to assist with projects related to natural resources, history and biomedicine. Through this program, the IGB hopes to increase the number of indigenous peoples in science research, leadership and teaching careers at all levels.