Team:USNA Annapolis/HP/Silver

Human Practices

Going Beyond the Lab

Possible Applications

Health Indicator

Our project was designed to create a microbiome health indicator that would be useful in both the military and the civilian sector. It has recently been suggested that ionic conductivity plays a role in cell-cell communication via signal propagation similar to that of a neuron. Our health indicator would be able to detect a compromise in the microbiome health, which would be a method for pre-screening for diseases, and promoting the cells to homeostasis.


Military Applications

We were fortunate enough to talk to CDR Yasuda, who is the military liaison for center for biomolecular science and engineering , about our iGEM project. We discussed many things including potential applications of our project to the military and even about the misconceptions of synthetic biology in the military. CDR Yasuda believes that our project would be useful for the military due to the nature of serving in the armed forces. People are crammed in tight spaces and are constantly interacting with one another. This puts the mission capability at risk for our sailors and marines if there was an outbreak within the unit or command. Our health indicator could be used as a preventative measure to ensure that the sick sailors and marines are quarantined before they can spread it to another person. The method of employment was also brought up because our project focuses on the respiratory microbiota. He explained that if we wanted to employ our engineered organism directly into the human respiratory tract, it would be years before it can be useful for the military because of the long and arduous process of getting the FDA to approve the use of our genetically engineered machine. However, he mentioned that the use of our project could still be valuable if it was in the form of a patch that could sense and respond to changing human vital signs.

CDR Yasuda believes that our project would be useful for the military due to the nature of serving in the armed forces.

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