UES congratulates the AFRL Lab Pats Team, from Dayton’s Carroll High School, for their accomplishment in achieving Gold Medal status in the recently concluded iGEM International Genetically Engineered Machine Giant Jamboree in Boston, MA. Attended by over 3,000 high school, undergraduate, and graduate level scientists, with more than 300 teams competing, the iGEM Competition is the premiere student team competition in Synthetic Biology.
Synthetic biology is an emerging and interdisciplinary science that seeks to understand the operation and organization of genes in cells, with beneficial applications in modifying organisms.
Carroll’s students, mentored by UES and AFRL scientists and Carroll faculty, worked together to solve real-world challenges by building genetically engineered biological systems with standard, interchangeable parts. The team designed, built, and tested their project over the summer and gathered to present their work and compete at the annual Jamboree.
In a unique Tri-Service collaboration, the Air Force, Army, and Navy Research Laboratories each fielded a team for the iGEM Competition in Boston. The Lab Pats performed hands-on work at the AFRL’s laboratories and engineered benign, non-pathogenic E. coli strains to sense and immobilize harmful Enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) strains in a cellulose matrix. ETEC strains of E. coli (also known as traveler’s diarrhea) affects thousands of deployed Warfighters every year.
The team’s scientific mentors at UES, Carroll, and the AFRL have focused on empowering the students to manage their own projects, as well as to advocate for their research. The teams are also challenged to actively consider and address the safety, security, and environmental implications of their work. We are proud of the hard work of these young scientists, who will shape this evolving field as they pursue their careers – as their mentors do today.
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Veeraraghavan Sundar, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Manager, Emerging Products