Engineering Life since 2009. The iGEM 2020 team is now here!

We are the UCL iGEM 2020 team representing our university at the international Genetically Engineered Machines Competition (iGEM) held annually at MIT. Like our page to get enlightened about our project & progress

Twitter: https://twitter.com/UCLiGEM
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ucl_igem/

Operating as usual

Timeline photos 18/08/2020

Join us at the global meetup where we’ll be hosting a discussion on equality, diversity and inclusion in STEM and iGEM. We hope to see you there!

Timeline photos 10/08/2020

We’ve started designing our wiki page. We began by finding an editor for writing and running html and css files collaboratively. Initially, we planned to use the jsfiddle playground but it didn't support creating multiple files. Eventually, we decided to use Atom which satisfied all our requirements: create, preview and share multiple files easily within the team.

If you're interested in using Atom, you can download it from github: https://github.com/atom/atom/releases

Has your team started with your wiki? If you have, which software are you using? Also, if you have any questions or advice on coding the wiki, please let us know!

Timeline photos 05/08/2020

We are researching specific areas of the world that simultaneously suffer from plastic pollution and freshwater scarcity.

If any iGEM team knows any academics or companies that are working in these two areas please let us know!

Fishcakes In Space? How One Biotech Startup Is Fermenting Far-Out Food - SynBioBeta 03/08/2020

We’ve decided to start a biweekly series where we share an interesting synthetic biology application we’ve read about. This week it’s growing fish meat without the fish.
With commercial space travel becoming more of a reality, the challenge of transporting food to space will need to be tackled.
Finless food is a company that uses biology to grow seafood meat cells in the lab. “This offers a more sustainable and humane alternative to today’s livestock agricultural system”. Last year, they sent fish muscle cells to the International Space Station where a team of astronauts were able to culture fish cells in space.

Fishcakes In Space? How One Biotech Startup Is Fermenting Far-Out Food - SynBioBeta Cellular agriculture companies can use fermentation to grow meat, chicken, and fish from cell cultures in a lab-like setting, offering consumers—and astronauts—a sustainable source of nutritious foods without the animals.


We are now announcing the challenge! We encourage teams to have team members personally takeover their Instagram and Facebook accounts on every Monday of the week and show their individual experiences with iGEM in this extraordinary year.

We would like to see your workplace, your daily routine and your personal interests! Feel free to add anything else you find relevant to iGEM or the wider field of Synthetic Biology and want to share with the rest of the iGEM community!

Algorithmic Beauty: An Introduction to Cellular Automata 31/07/2020

Despite wet lab restrictions, we would like to investigate our S. onediensis MR-1 strain’s behaviour upon the anode of our Microbial Desalination Cell (MDC). To this aim, we are employing Cellular Automata (CA) modelling. Here is a great CA resource for beginners:

We are using ‘Conway’s Game of Life’ code to model biofilm growth and the influence on desalination efficiency.


If any other teams are also using CA modelling, please get in touch!


Algorithmic Beauty: An Introduction to Cellular Automata An overview of simple algorithms that generate complex, life-like results.


In order to identify the enzyme within our PET degradation pathway (see below) that would maximise the final product yield when over-expressed, we are using Flux Balance Analysis (FBA). This in turn will inform our SynBio choices that will aim to degrade PET more effectively.

In FBA, the mathematical representations of the metabolic reactions are then solved using linear programming. The COBRA Toolbox is a freely available Matlab toolbox for performing these calculations: https://nature.com/articles/nprot.2007.99

iGEM Webinar Series – Webinar 1: Introduction to the Benchling Platform (2020) 22/07/2020


We have now started to develop the synthetic biology aspect of our project for iGEM 2020. We have found that Benchling is a good platform for developing protocols, constructs and BioBricks! We are also extending our thanks to Benchling for helping iGEM teams this year and hosting a great webinar series on how to effectively implement their platform for the competition!

Here is the video that got us started:

iGEM Webinar Series – Webinar 1: Introduction to the Benchling Platform (2020) In the first webinar of our iGEM 2020 series, we introduce you to Benchling’s core applications – Notebook, an electronic lab notebook, and Molecular Biology...

UCL iGEM 2020 02/07/2020

Recently, our team created our own Youtube channel to share casts of our educational webinars. We have hosted two sessions of Zooming in on Biology via zoom with high school students and teachers to introduce our team members’ and supervisors’ majors. Link to our videos can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1dosgf2_1j9zoBeiYYqXCw

UCL iGEM 2020


Celebrating World Environment Day, our team is excited to announce our iGEM project this year: combining plastic degradation with low-cost water desalination in a microbial fuel cell (MFC) with polyethylene terephthalate (PET) as a feedstock to generate bioelectricity and desalinate water for irrigation. Please don’t hesitate to contact our team if you’d like to collaborate ☺️

Photos from UCL iGEM's post 05/06/2020

Our team is here to celebrate world environment day today! This year, the theme is “Celebrate Biodiversity.” Plastic pollution threatens the survival of many marine organisms from zooplankton to seabirds. To maintain the biodiversity of marine habitats, we need to reduce plastic waste. Small steps can make big impacts. Let’s start with actions in our lives such as using paper straws and taking your own bags when shopping! Check out the posts for some relevant facts and themes! See the link for more resources: https://linktr.ee/ucl_igem


As mentioned in our previous post, we are hosting a series of educational webinars. Our first topic in the series will focus on introducing Bio-related studies and sharing our journeys into STEM! Since many high school students and families cannot visit universities and departments as scheduled, online undergraduate degree presentations are particularly helpful right now. Even though many of us are following social distancing, science and education are still within reach!


Hi everyone, hope you're keeping safe! Our team has been dedicated to our project idea and outreach activities for the past month. We’re excited to announce a series of upcoming educational webinars that we’ll be hosting online over the next 4 months. The webinars will explore three topics related to biology and are open to anyone interested. Stay tuned for further information.


UCL iGEM 2020 is recruiting!

Photos from CU iGEM's post 11/10/2019

Congratulation team CUI :D - let's keep sustainability as a crucial part of laboratory work!


Here's Clare manouvring the TEM to observe the assembled encapsulins with the targetting peptide🎉🎉Hooray....getting few steps closer to the uptimate goal 😁

Photos from UCL iGEM's post 21/08/2019

Today with more results in the lab: our targetting peptides succesfully bind on the cells and are uptaken! We are working hard and looking forward to more progress! Obviously happy faces 😁😁

Photos from UCL iGEM's post 09/08/2019

Presenting at UCL Summer School!!
Look at Saverio and Diana inspiring a new generation of synthetic biologists!!


Two insightful days at the UK iGEM meetup organised by Newcastle's iGEM team. Had great fun ! Igem Headquarters


Today at London Synthetic Biology Showcase presenting our projects to other Doctoral and PostDoctoral students and other experts in the field of SynBio! 🙌😁🔬


Working hard on it 💪🏻👨‍🔬👩‍🔬


First successful session of paper prototyping our wiki!! 🤓🤓


Our first day in the lab!

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Videos (show all)

Here's Clare manouvring the TEM to observe the assembled encapsulins with the targetting peptide🎉🎉Hooray....getting few ...
Today at London Synthetic Biology Showcase presenting our projects to other Doctoral and PostDoctoral students and other...
On our way to more sustainable labs at UCL! 🍀🍀Join our Emerald challenge!!Check out the deets at: https://2019.igem.org/...
Working hard on it 💪🏻👨‍🔬👩‍🔬
Today at UCL! 😁 Lets build with Biology #iGEM
TEDxSGH by Jan Jedryszek
How to keep a tidy lab (bonus points if you can spot the bottle of lube).And you know what? If you think you have a tidi...
Here, as you can see, we are 3D printing a giant phage particle which we will cram with billions of real phage particles...
UCL iGEM does Outreach:Last Thursday Michelle, Amandeep & Abbie presented to a group of year 12 students about synthetic...
UCL iGEM 2015 & 2016



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