ASIJ’s first iGEM team, ASIJ_Tokyo, went to Boston for the iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) competition from October 27th to November 2nd 2016. A team of seven students along with their teacher and advisor, Beth Crissy (high school science), represented ASIJ at iGEM this year, presenting their project on Fast Pace PETase, which focuses on optimizing the biodegradation and bioremediation of PET plastic, using the enzymatic pathway of PETase.
The ASIJ_Tokyo team includes seniors Kien Malarney, Lauren Sekiguchi, Margarette Emin Lee, Prateeksha Rout, Tomi Mcguire and Choryu Sun as well as sophomore Marina Takehana. Prateeksha updates us on their participation at iGEM.
This year’s iGEM Giant Jamboree hosted 300 schools, 30 of which were high schools. Started in 2006, iGEM focuses on synthetic biology and its many applications and new directions in the science world. Specifically, students work towards solving real-world challenges by building genetically engineered biological systems with standard interchangeable parts. Student teams design, build and test their projects over the summer and gather to present their work and compete at the annual jamboree. Teams who participate also have to consider the safety, security and environmental implications of their work.
Our ASIJ_Tokyo team had the opportunity to meet many other teams, from high schools and universities alike, gaining insight into how other teams approached their research, managed time frames and improved their communities with their projects. Our team also enjoyed the opportunity to share experiences on how genetic modeling and engineering could benefit the community outside of iGEM, and how we address different project challenges and apprehensions.
We hope to work more in the community in the future and look forward to completing our research with positive results. Our ASIJ_Tokyo team also hopes to further collaborate with TAS (Taipei American School) and Tokyo Institute of Technology on iGEM projects in the future.
If you would like to read more about iGEM, Fast Pace PETase or our previous collaboration with Tokyo Institute of Technology, check out our ASIJ News post, Tokyo Institute of Technology Visits Biology Class.