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iGEM München 2019 

Students have been developing a novel diagnostic tool with potential to monitor transplanted cells in vivo.

iGEM competition, where exciting new SynBio projects come to life

The iGEM (international Genetically Engineered Machine) competition is an annual event, full of crea-tive SynBio projects developed by student teams. It was founded in 2003 by the Massachusetts Insti-tute of Technology (MIT) and has since pursued the goal of getting young teams of scientists from all over the world enthusiastic about diverse and daring projects.

Anja Domadenik, a student of Elite Graduate Program „Human Biology – Principles of Health and Disease“, has been one of iGEM LMU and TU Munich Team 2019 members, presenting the proof of principle for their diagnostic tool in 3 differ-ent cell lines. They have been nominated not only for Best Diagnostics but also Best Basic Part and Best Entrepreneurship award. Theoretical and practical knowledge Anja has gained through her first year of Human Biology Master’s program, has revealed extremely valuable for her to apply to this pro-ject. Not only that, the program gave her great motivation to advance in her scientific development and think outside the box. 

Exchanging ideas and gaining a new perspective

More than 300 student teams from all over the world participate on iGEM competition every year, competing for awards from different categories, ranging from e.g. Best Presentation to Best Software. This year, each team presented their project and discussed its strengths and weaknesses during sev-eral poster sessions in Boston (MA). In addition to that, several workshops and booths have been or-ganized by different companies, offering their knowledge and career advice.

iGEM Team Munich 2019 have developed an exciting new method for monitoring transplanted cells with the help of vesi-cles. With it, specific RNA-level information can be packed into vesicles and exported outside cells, ready to be analysed. The main vision behind the advantages this method could bring into a diagnos-tics field, relies in the ability to perform diagnostics on living cells. On the last day, the competition has been concluded by final team presentations on a big stage, where winners of all categories have finally been revealed. 

iGEM competition, being a strong networking event, presents itself as a lively research and start-up environment, being a springboard for more than one successfully developed biotech company. Anja has described iGEM as an unforgettable opportunity for students to meet new people, to get an overview on current topics in science and therefore broaden their horizons. 

Text: Anja Domadenik, Elite Graduate Program "Human Biology - Principles in Health and Disease"