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Engineering Genetic Machines - Synthetic Biology

During the last few years a new cross-disciplinary field that combines Biology and Engineering – Synthetic Biology - has emerged that aims at engineering complex artificial biological systems for a variety of applications and to investigate mechanism and principles of biological systems.

Each year in the fall the Synthetic Biology community organizes a premiere undergraduate competition (iGEM, international Genetically Engineered Machines competition)  where student teams from different schools across the world present projects that they have designed and worked on during the previous 6 months. Students use genetic parts developed by previous groups and new parts of their own design to build biological systems and operate them in living cells.

Teams from the University of Minnesota have successfully participated in this competition during the last year. We are now offering a new course that will provide hands-on fundamental training in genetic engineering that will lead to the building of a functional biological system conceived and designed by the participants of this course. Faculty, postdocs and graduate students will provide guidance and cutting-edge training for students. This will be an open lab where students will organize their time and research according to the needs of the chosen team research project.

This course will be open to a select number of students serious of committing time and effort to a team project that will continue over the summer. 10-15 students will be selected from the applicant pool to participate in this course. It is anticipated that some summer undergraduate research fellowships will be available to support students that continue the team efforts over the summer and present the project at the iGEM competition in the fall at MIT in Boston.