Sydney University iGEM 2017 Team Takes Gold

18 December 2017

The giant jamboree for the international genetically engineered machine (iGEM) competition was held Nov 9-13 in Boston, USA. The University of Sydney team performed with distinction, earning a gold medal for their project (meaning all scientific, outreach, and 'human practices' elements were successful). In addition, they were nominated for the best poster prize, indicating a position in the top 10% of posters out of 337 teams.

The USyd iGEM 2017 team tackled a real-world problem using synthetic biology tools.

Specifically, they addressed the issue of the unaffordability of insulin in many countries by designing and manufacturing a novel, thermostable, and theoretically 'unpatentable' insulin protein, thus the team's name DISCO: Designing Insulin to be Single-Chain and Open-source.

Their new gene (known as "Winsulin") is now deposited in the iGEM Parts Registry, and is freely available to anyone who wants to manufacture a generic insulin medicine.

The DISCO team was based in Nick Coleman's lab in SoLES, with supervisory support from Jacqui Matthews (SoLES), Ed Hancock (Maths) and Andrew Hoy (Physiology).

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