A team of undergraduate students from IISER Pune won a gold medal at the 2023 iGEM synthetic biology competition, as announced during iGEM’s Grand Jamboree event held during November 2-5, 2023 in Paris.
They were the only team from India to bag a spot in the Top 10 undergraduate teams. The team also won the Best Education Award. The team has been nominated for Best Climate Crisis Project, Best Integrated Human Practices, and Best Presentation Award from among 400+ teams across the world. The award ceremony took place on November 5, 2023.
The International Genetically Engineered Machine Foundation or the iGEM Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization working towards the advancement of research and education in synthetic biology. The iGEM competition is an annual event aimed at undergraduate university students, as well as high school and graduate students, giving them an opportunity to tackle everyday issues facing the world through synthetic biology approaches.
Working at the laboratories of the institute between February to October 2023, the IISER Pune team had carried out a project on developing Jatropha oil-based sustainable aviation fuel using the yeast as the model system. Learn more about the research project here.
The team consisted of 14 BS-MS students who were mentored by 5 PhD students. Prof. Saikrishnan Kayarat (IISER Pune) was the primary PI for the team and Dr. Mridula Nambiar (IISER Pune) and Dr. Mehmet Berkmen (New England Biolabs) guided the team as secondary PIs.
Alongside carrying out the research project, the team conducted various education and communication programs like biomimetic competition, wiki workshop, molecular biology workshop, plantation drive, survey, school visits, etc. The community outreach carried out by the team was recognised at iGEM-2023 through the team's selection for the Best Education Award and their nomination for the Best Integrated Human Practices Award.
Our congratulations to all the team members, mentors, and faculty guides! We wish all members of the team the best in their future endeavours!
Authisha Thirumani Selvam
Sashank Chandra Reddy Singam
Prof. Saikrishnan Kayarat (IISER Pune)
Dr. Mridula Nambiar (IISER Pune)
Dr. Mehmet Berkmen (New England Biolabs)