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iGEM 2012

Our Project and the World

  • Future of Nucleic Acid Computing
  • Thinking about Therapeutic Applications

Spreading the Word about Synthetic Biology

  • Community Outreach
  • International Outreach
  • IAP Synthetic Biology Lab Class


  • Wellesley

Internationalization Project of Synthetic Biology

The Internationalization Project of Synthetic Biology (IPSB) is a collaborative project between MIT and Tel-Aviv University (TAU) that aims to introduce synthetic biology to Palestinians, promote it in Israel, and create a network of understanding Palestinian and Israeli leaders. It aims to do so by bringing together gifted Palestinian and Israeli high school students for three years, and teaching them the principles of bioengineering and bio-entrepreneurship. At the end of the third year, the students would present their technical project in iGEM’s high school contest, along with a business plan for commercializing it in iGEM;s entrepreneurial contest. Logistics of the program include sending MIT students would be sent to Tel-Aviv in the summer to teach the students, and TAU instructors would take over supervision throughout the academic year. The pilot program will run for one year (June 2013-June 2014), and hopefully a Palestinian-Israeli iGEM college team will be created in the future.

Biosafety Research

Our iGEM team has been considering the safety implications of synthetic biology research, with one member becoming directly involved in MIT’s Program on Emerging Technologies (PoET). His work was done under the supervision of professor Kenneth Oye, an MIT professor affiliated with both MIT’s political science department and Engineering Systems Division (ESD). This work was presented in a poster on one of the Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center’s (SynBERC) retreats, and produced a literature review about the methods used to assess the competitiveness of engineered organisms should they be released to the outer environment. The review provided background knowledge for Oye’s group when organizing the conference “Beyond Containment: Assessing, Testing, and Demonstrating Safety On Release of Synbio Devices and Chassis,” which took place in the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington DC, and was attended by members of government, academia, and industry.