Life Science and Technology News
Team iGEM Tokyo Tech has won the silver medal at the 2019 International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition (iGEM) held in Boston, Massachusetts from October 31 to November 4. Approximately 360 teams and over 40,000 students participated.
The iGEM competition is an international synthetic biology competition for high school, undergraduate, and graduate-level students. 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.
In 2019, the Tokyo Tech team embarked on a journey to study Turing patterns, which offer a plausible explanation for the various stripes and patterns on animals such as zebras and giraffes. These patterns are simple enough to create using computer simulations, but are very difficult to recreate using cells.
In an attempt to elucidate the mechanism of pattern formation and understand morphogenesis, i.e. the appearance of an organism's body plan, the Tokyo Tech team programmed E. coli to form patterns by designing a new genetic circuit in which bacteria use N-acyl-L-homoserine lactone to communicate.
3rd year, Life Science and Technology
I have been part of the iGEM team since I was a first-year student. We have had our ups and downs, but the support from our academic supervisors and other team members has been fantastic. We have worked hard and we are proud of our silver medal.
The iGEM competition appears to be experiencing a shift from science towards monozukuri, or the creation of things. For the Tokyo Tech team, which has a long history at the contest, there have been many obstacles, but the gains have also been significant. I sincerely hope our younger teammates and successors will continue to enjoy the challenges offered by the competition.
Assoc. Prof. Yoh-ichi Tagawa, School of Life Science and Technology
Assoc. Prof. Nobuhiro Hayashi, School of Life Science and Technology
Prof. Masayuki Yamamura, School of Computing
Assoc. Prof. Yoshihisa Matsumoto, Institute of Innovative Research
Akifumi Nishida, Research Staff, School of Life Science and Technology
Shoya Yasuda, Research Staff, School of Life Science and Technology
This project is supported by Tokyo Tech Fund
School of Life Science and Technology
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Information on School of Life Science and Technology inaugurated in April 2016