Life Science and Technology News
The students of Tokyo Tech obtained yet another gold medal at this year's International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition (iGEM), extending their world record to 11 consecutive years since the inception of the medal system. Of the 310 teams participating this year, only Tokyo Tech and the University of Freiburg are holders of this record.
The iGEM competition is an international synthetic biology competition mainly for undergraduate students. The student teams are given a kit of standard genetic parts, called BioBricks, and are asked to design and build a new biological system. Each team presents their results to a panel of judges. This year, the competition was held in Boston from November 10 to 13, with renowned universities such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Heidelberg University, and Tsinghua University participating in the 10 categories.
Tokyo Tech's team consisted of 12 students who worked on establishing a co-culture system for human cells and E. coli. This may sound easy, but during experiments, contaminated bacteria in the human cell culture environment rapidly grow, and human cells die. In our bodies, it seems that symbiotic relationships with bacteria are established in various organs, including the intestines. We believe that this co-cultivation technology can contribute not only to analyzing the "creation" of this symbiotic relationship, but also to the construction of a more life-like living system. We plan to develop devices applying this co-cultivation technology next year and apply it to medical applications as well. In the iGEM competition, creating "something with high social impact" is becoming a prerequisite for winning the category prize and the special prize, and, by developing applied technology and devices based on this year's product, we are aiming for the special award next year.
Tokyo Institute of Technology iGEM is supported by Tokyo Tech Fund
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Information on School of Life Science and Technology inaugurated in April 2016