Duke Undergraduate International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Team (2017-2018)

Rapid advances in synthetic and systems biology, metabolic and enzyme engineering and nanotechnology are having profound impacts on biotechnology and related engineering fields. The Duke Undergraduate International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Team was founded to stimulate and nurture students’ interest in science and engineering and prepare them to be future leaders in these emerging fields. 

In 2016-2017, the Duke iGEM team worked on a project to produce advanced chemotherapeutic drugs with engineered microbial cells, including taxol and next-generation derivatives. In 2017-2018, team members tackled HIV by working on a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) designed to test for the virus. This was done using griffithsin, a novel protein, that can be produced from E. coli cells. Through production, optimization, and isolation of this protein, the team designed a lateral flow RDT to test for the presence of HIV-1 and HIV-2.

Team members used advanced synthetic biology and metabolic engineering methodologies in their proposed solutions. The technical aspects of the project were complemented by policy components that encouraged team members to think creatively about the societal landscape of synthetic biology and develop innovative tools to improve access and education. The team also interfaced with professors in public policy and ethics to explore synthetic biology’s legal, ethical and economic impact, and competed in the 2017 International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition in Boston.


Spring 2017 – Fall 2017

Team Outcomes

Development of an Affordable Rapid Test for HIV Using Thermostable Griffithsin, poster presented at Bass Connections Showcase, April 18, 2018

This Team in the News

Exploring the Mechanics of Gene Expression

Meet the Members of the 2017-18 Student Advisory Council

See related teams, Duke Undergraduate International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Team (2018-2019) and Duke Undergraduate International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Team (2016-2017).

Bass Connections team members leading a children's activity

Team Leaders

  • Charles Gersbach, Pratt School of Engineering-Biomedical Engineering
  • Michael Lynch, Pratt School of Engineering-Biomedical Engineering

/graduate Team Members

  • John Decker, Biomedical Engineering-PHD
  • Eirik Moreb, Biomedical Engineering-PHD

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Azim Dharani, Chemistry (BS)
  • Marco Hosfeld, Biomedical Engineering (BSE)
  • Thomas Luo, Biomedical Engineering (BSE)
  • Emma Miles, Biomedical Engineering (BSE)
  • Ian Miles, Psychology (AB)
  • Parth Patel, Biomedical Engineering (BSE)
  • Adam Yaseen, Biophysics (BS)

/zcommunity Team Members

  • Marbles Kids Museum