Team:Kingsborough NY

Kingsborough Community College || City Unversity of New York || 2017 iGEM Team

Computer Hope

Bronze Medalist at the 2017 iGEM Jamboree!

A special thanks to all those who supported our team! View the Official Results Page

Organisms engineered by synthetic biologists have the potential to deliver biological solutions to a wide range of problems. However, they must be implemented responsibly in any setting.

Last year the Kingsborough team focused on engineering E. coli, to deteriorate nitrogenous waste in sewage more effectively. However, E. coli can survive in local waterways where treated wastewater ends up therefore introducing foreign genetic material into the environment that can cause irreparable harm to the environment. This year the Kingsborough 2017 iGEM team looked for an environmentally responsible mechanism to prevent such a scenario through the “kill-switch”. With this “kill-switch” we will be able to destroy any escaped modified E. coli from the treatment plant.

This year we attempted to develop a light-inducible kill switch as designed by Ohlendorf et al., that would have the bacteria thrive in a dark environment like a sewage treatment plant and perish in a bright environment like the local waterways. Other teams have proposed and modeled such switches, but few have successfully built, implemented, and characterized such devices. We will be building upon our past design, as well as improving and completing a previously proposed light-inducible kill switch (the design of team Wageningen from 2016).

This year the Kingsborough team faced many barriers to completing the project. For instance, the lab space lacked a red room to grow the light-sensitive E.coli which likely introduced unwanted expression. Furthermore, we lacked a spectrophotometer, and our inability to quantify DNA concentrations this way hindered our DNA ligations and Gibson Assembly. However, we came up with cheap solutions to these technical barriers that we can introduce to the iGEM community.