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Photo via Lambert iGEM Website

A successful transformation has occurred for this sample of chitosan.

Lambert iGEM team goes to Boston for international competition

Lambert's team competed and performed well against collegiate groups.

The iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) competition was held in Boston on Thursday, September 24th. iGEM is a collegiate-level competitive activity that is performed in a high school setting here on campus; Lambert’s program is one of the only five high school teams in the United States, possible through “lots of good resources and funding from the school and grants,” according to participant Lauren Pan.

Lambert’s iGEM goal was to have chiton, the second most prominent organic compound in the world, undergo deacetylation via engineered ecoli. The product would be an environmentally friendly alternative to the industrial chitosan. Typical chitosan is created using sodium hydroxide and hydrochloric acid; hazardous waste is a concerning byproduct.

Lauren Pan, speaking on the international event before it took place, described it as a “big showcase of synthetic biology achievements of the year” and added that “we probably have no chance but we are hoping to win against [the collegial teams], but hope to win against the other high schools.”

Teams were awarded on the basis of the amount of milestones within their projects, leaving many without any awards. A few schools were able to earn bronzes, silvers, and gold. Lambert’s iGEM team earned a bronze medal. For reference, MIT was graded on the same scale earned the same accolades.

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