Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program

"iGEM, synthetic biology undergraduate research"

About the Project

Project Time & Type:
Spring 2013 - DURI
Research area(s):
synthetic biology, biological engineering
Project Description:
The International Genetically Engineered Machine competition (iGEM) is the premiere undergraduate Synthetic Biology competition. The student team is given a kit of DNA based biological parts from the Registry of Standard Biological Parts. The students use these parts and new parts of their own design to build biological systems and operate them in living cells. The students are responsible for generating their own ideas for the project. The current 2012 project is described below. The students my decide to continue this project or take on an entirely new project within the scope of iGEM. Project Abstract: Polluted water is the world’s largest health risk, killing over three million people a year. Our project focused on enhancing biofilms used in water treatment. We designed a system to accelerate the adhesion of bacteria to surfaces. On biofilm aggregation, expression of silica-binding peptides works to build silica matrices on the surface of cells. These matrices act as a mechanical filter for large particles and a barrier between the biofilm and fluid shear, decreasing dislodgment of organisms that could otherwise lead to fouling. We envision these improved biofilms being used in municipal water treatment to help recycle and filter home waste water streams, a concept we implemented in lab-scale membrane bioreactors. Bringing awareness of synthetic biology closer to our community, we initiated a community bio-lab and a Girl Scout biotechnology badge. Ultimately, we hope to take synthetic biology from benchtop to park bench.
Expected Student Contributions:
he intern on this project will be a member of the Purdue iGEM team, which typically consists of approximately 10 - 20 students. The project has many layers to it and the DP intern will be responsible for specific goals depending on background. These goals could range from design of genetic circuits, transformation and characterization of cells, building and testing bioreactors, mathematical modeling of the system, and evaluation of safety and human practices. The student will have the opportunity to travel and present at the iGEM America's regional competition and if selected the iGEM World competition at MIT.
Related Website(s):
Desired Qualifications:
any science, engineering, agriculture major. GPA of 3.0 or greater.
Estimated Weekly Hours:
Department awards independent research credits for this project?
Yes, 3 credit hours

Professor in Charge

Rickus, Jenna
agricultural and biological engineering

Student Supervisor

Soo Ha and Rajtarun Madangopal
graduate students

Cooperating Faculty

Kari Clase