Exploring Biotechnology: iGEM

A picture of the iGEM board., Monday, February 28, 2022. (The Lambert Post/Hunter Dzerve)

A picture of the iGEM board., Monday, February 28, 2022. (The Lambert Post/Hunter Dzerve)

Internationally Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) is both a club and a class that is offered at Lambert High School. Students in this club design and build biological structures constructed from interchangeable DNA strands. After completing an extensive application, students are able to participate in one of the two available biotechnology teams: competition and seminar. 

The Competition team is based on research of synthetic biology, along with skills needed to present motions internationally. The team has six main areas of responsibilities: wet-lab, hardware, software, mathematical modeling, science communication and integrated human practice. Every student must specialize in two topics.

The Seminar team is more hands-on based, compared to the Competition team. This team often deals with exploring techniques in lab settings and replicating experiments from famous IGEM teams. A place on the Seminar team allows students to develop and prepare for a spot on the Competition team.

In October of this year, the Competition team will be traveling to Paris, France for the annual Giant Jamboree. This competition is an event showcasing more than 370 projects that each team must work together at the competition to design and test their own system. Lambert is going to interact with start-up biotech companies in France and present their biotechnology ideas to judges.

“iGEM is a three-step application process to join either the competition or seminar team,” Christina Yi said.

The application process involves three steps, where students have to write a proposal paper about their own synthetic biology idea, write an essay in real-time based on a topic given by judges and then have a sit-down interview. 

Not only is iGEM a unique learning opportunity, but many students have an innumerable amount of fun researching their topics. Students are so passionate about their topic that it doesn’t feel like work. 

“I really enjoy learning more about synthetic biology and getting to cultivate both my passion and talents,” Yi said. 

Being a part of the iGEM community means constantly working with highly intelligent individuals and learning new things. iGEM will test your knowledge, apply your skill sets and push you to your full potential.