MCB Seminar Series: iGEM Guelph
Date and Time
Please join us as we welcome our very own, gold medal winning, iGEM Guelph Team!
Seminar time: 10:30 AM
Room: SSC 2315
All are welcome to attend. Please see poster for further details.
MCB Distinguished Speaker Seminar Committee
Developing an Antibiotic Biosensor as a Diagnostic Tool to Detect Tetracycline
The International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition involves undergraduate students from all around the world and challenges them to solve a real-world problem using synthetic biology. The 2019 iGEM Guelph team developed 3 projects this year and chose to focus on the use of antibiotics in agriculture that has resulted in a sharp increase of drug-resistant bacteria. These resistant bacteria pose risks to human and livestock health, as commonly used antibiotics become less effective for treating infections. Additionally, if animal products contaminated with antibiotics are consumed by humans, there is a risk that the consumer's intestinal microbiota will be damaged or select for resistant bacteria. In light of this, careful monitoring of the environment and animal products is needed to detect antibiotic residues. In iGEM Guelph’s gold winning project, they used synthetic biology to modify E. coli cells to be able to sense tetracycline and respond to its presence by producing a coloured pigment. The resulting system produces a visible colour change after induction with samples that contain tetracycline. This project lays the groundwork for the development of affordable and sustainable biosensors that can detect other antibiotics. Accompanying the scientific work, iGEM Guelph participated in a kid’s summer camp to teach young children about synthetic biology and developed a podcast and blog to reach a broader audience to communicate their scientific work. They also hosted a conference, inviting other Ontario iGEM teams to share their scientific work.