Synthetic Biology and Genetic Engineering for Human Health and Society: Duke iGEM (2021-2022)

The Duke iGEM team was founded to stimulate and nurture students’ passions in science and engineering with a focus on synthetic biology and biotechnology exploration.

Each year, students compete in the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition, whicih encourages students to explore synthetic biology in hands-on, collaborative research experiences. Students participate in all aspects of the engineering cycle and consider the human and ethical practices of their research. In preparation for the international iGEM Jamboree, students analyze current scientific literature, present orally and in written communications, and work in an interdisciplinary team of scientists, philosophers and policy experts to assess the impact of their research.

In 2021-2022, team members developed a drug screening platform for gioblastoma, the most common, treatment-resistant, terminal form of brain cancer.  Their model uses brain organoids (miniature, simplified 3-D replicas of brains grown from stem cells) and synthetic biology tools to develop a non-invasive genetic reporter system that measures drug impacts in a multicellular model. Ultimately this system will allow for the development of new drugs and the optimization of existing therapies for gioblastoma.

Learn more about this project team by viewing the team's video


Summer 2021 – Summer 2022

Team Outputs

Team website

Promotional video

Genetically engineered machine

“Biobricks” for open access use

This Team in the News

Senior Spotlight: Reflections from the Class of 2023

See related teams, Synthetic Biology and Genetic Engineering for Human Health and Society (2022-2023) and Synthetic Biology and Genetic Engineering for Human Health and Society: Duke iGEM (2020-2021).


Image: iGEM logo, courtesy of iGEM Foundation and Justin Knight

iGEM logo.

Team Leaders

  • Cameron Kim, Pratt School of Engineering-Biomedical Engineering
  • Zhaohui Wang, Pratt School of Engineering-Biomedical Engineering

/graduate Team Members

  • Hannah Devens, Biology - PHD

/undergraduate Team Members

  • David Ramirez, Biomedical Engineering (BSE)
  • Happy Yao, Biology (BS)
  • Sabina Yampolsky, Biomedical Engineering (BSE)
  • Xiao Wu, Biomedical Engineering (BSE)
  • Isabella Wang, Biomedical Engineering (BSE)
  • Casey Syal, Biology (BS)
  • Kate Straneva, Computer Science (BS)
  • Konrad Slaman, Biomedical Engineering (BSE)
  • Jessica Shah, Biomedical Engineering (BSE)
  • Nicolas Rey, Biology (BS)
  • Caroline Anderson, Biology (BS)
  • Andy Qiao, Biomedical Engineering (BSE)
  • Sara Liszeski, Computer Science (BS)
  • Ashley Jones, Biology (BS)
  • Jihyeon Je, Biomedical Engineering (BSE)
  • Tim Ho, Biomedical Engineering (BSE)
  • Emily Caplan, Philosophy (AB)
  • Andres Bermudez, Biomedical Engineering (BSE)