iGEM Applications for the 2022 Team will open in Fall of 2021
We're not accepting applications this semester, but keep an eye out for recruitment in the coming Fall.
Virginia iGEM is a student-led synthetic biology research program. Anywhere from 10 to 20 students make up the team each year. It is a year-long program that has the following structure:
- Fill out the Interest Form!
- BIOL 4700: Synthetic Biology
- Summer research with stipend
- Fall research for credit (optional)
- Giant Jamboree in October
- Recruitment (optional)
What is Synthetic Biology?
Synthetic biology combines engineering design with biological investigation to produce a powerful tool for biotechnological innovation. Synthetic biology moves beyond genetic engineering, introducing a new level of control of biological systems.
With synthetic biology, you will be able to modify the DNA of organisms and incorporate synthetic genes into their genomes. With the engineering design method, you will have a powerful tool for changing the technological landscape and solving global problems.
Majors we look for:
- Environmental Science
- Public Health
- Computer Science
- Biomedical Engineering
- Chemical Engineering
- Systems Engineering
- Engineers of all kinds!
This is how the typical Application process works:
Step 1: Fill out an Interest Form
Step 2: Go to the Activities Fair
Step 3: Fill out the Application Form
The first part of iGEM is taking 3 credit class in the Biology department BIOL 4770. A few general asides about the class:
- This course has no prerequisites. Previous biological knowledge is not assumed.
- The class is taught by the iGEM advisor, Keith Kozmiski.
- Taking the course does not obligate you to be a part of Virginia iGEM.
In this class, you will be learning more about the iGEM competition, synthetic biology, and basic lab techniques. Most importantly, you will develop a project proposal. At the end of the semester, you will propose your project idea to the class and the team will decide on a project.
Over the summer, the team typically meets regularly to carry out the project they decided upon in the spring. This summer, we've been having daily meetings on Zoom and holding each other accountable for doing work with each committee. Summer commitment is about 40 hours/week. While it is flexible, and some students elect to take a class or two over the summer, you should expect to make iGEM your main summer priority. While you can work part-time (~20 hours or less/week) or full time (~40 hours per week), those who can commit more of their time will be preferred in selection and be paid a larger stipend.
Be on the lookout for more news on how we adapted to doing Synbio Research Online, available in the Blog section soon!
This year, we divided work into five committees.
Wet Lab consists of designing, planning, and carrying out lab work. This summer, we've been working on a number of collaborative websites like Benchling and Trello to plan every protocol, every assembly, and contingency plans. As soon as we get in the lab, we'll be extremely well prepared.
Modeling consists of the use of computational and mathematical models to gain insights on, guide, and analyze experimentation. Programs you might use to implement these models include MATLAB, Deepnote, Python, and C++. Professor Jason Papin advises the modeling committee each year.
Human Practices is a diverse field that puts your project in context. This committee works with professionals and experts to develop and improve the project into something more impactful. You’ll look at the societal implications of our project and work to incorporate the community into its development. This committee also handles all the team’s collaborations with other iGEM teams.
The entrepreneurship committee looks at our group as a potential start-up, taking notes from past iGEM success stories such as Transfoam and Agrospheres. They answer questions such as: "Who are our competitors and consumers?" "How do we make our product marketable?" "How do we go about getting a patent to protect our intellectual property?" This committee looks at cost-benefit analysis, branding, and works closely with Human Practices to build our professional network. iGEM headquartesr even launched its pilot program, iGEM EPIC, to promote entrepreneurial drive.
To learn more about iGEM and the other various aspects, visit http://igem.org/Main_Page.
During the fall semester, you have the option of taking 0-3 credits of research for the work you do in iGEM. The credit hours you take will depend on the amount of time you are able to commit to the project. However, there will still be a significant amount of work to do in the fall, and you should be able to maintain iGEM as one of your main obligations.
During this time, you will continue conducting research in wetlab, as well as working on other aspects of the project, including wiki and Human Practices, all the way up to the deadline.
The team’s work and effort on the project over the summer and the fall culminates in a 5 day global virtual conference called the Giant Jamboree. This year it's online, but next year it's set to be in Paris, France. Each team presents their project to the rest of the iGEM community as well as the judges of the competition through both a poster and a presentation! At the Giant Jamboree you’ll get to meet other iGEM students from all around the world, network with companies, and learn more about the synthetic biology community. Depending on the strength of the components of your project, your team may even leave with some level of recognition. Team Virginia has been a strong competitor in iGEM the last 10 years, and we aim to remain so in the future.
You have the opportunity to pick the next year’s team. Advertise and hold interest meetings, read over applications, and hold interviews. Use your experience in iGEM to pick the best team! You can even choose to be a part of Virginia iGEM for a second year!