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Tokyo Tech Students Win at iGEM Two Years in a Row

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November 27, 2013

The Tokyo Tech team project was chosen as the Best Information Processing Project at iGEM 2013, the International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition World Championship Jamboree, held at MIT on November 1-4, 2013. There were 204 participating teams this year from renowned universities such as MIT, Imperial College London and Tsinghua University. iGEM is a worldwide, undergraduate synthetic biology competition in which student teams are given a kit of standard biological parts, called BioBricks, and compete by designing and building a new biological system using these parts and other parts they design themselves.

The Tokyo Tech team was comprised of 13 students from the School of Bioscience and Biotechnology currently enrolled in the Creative Design for Bioscience and Biotechnology II course, and one student from the School of Engineering. For the sake of propagating the importance of synthetic biology, the team decided to tackle the network programming of artificial genetic circuits by drawing an analogy between the life of a ninja, a Japanese covert agent during the feudal age, and the E.coli bacterium. In addition, they synthesized several plant hormones that increase plant growth and worked this into their analogy as the latter years of a now retired ninja.

The Tokyo Tech team advanced to the World Championship Jamboree after winning a gold in the iGEM 2013 Regional Jamboree-Asia held on October 4-6 at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. This was the seventh consecutive win of a gold medal for Tokyo Tech at the regionals. Of the 204 participating teams worldwide, only four universities, Tokyo Tech, UC Berkeley, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Freiburg, can boast this record.

At the iGEM 2013 World Championship Jamboree in November, the iGEM Foundation presented World Championship Awards in eight categories in both the Undergraduate and the newly created Overgraduate sections. Tokyo Tech students won the Best Information Processing Project for the second year in a row in the Undergraduate section. This is the third time that the Institute was awarded the Best Information Processing Project since 2010. Tokyo Tech is the only university in Japan that has won iGEM's World Championship Award so far, which bespeaks the internationally-acclaimed ability of our students. Additionally, Tokyo Tech is the only university in the world that has won the World Championship Award three times and a gold medal for seven consecutive years at the regionals.

List of Participating Students

Shinya Suzuki
3rd-year, Biological Information, Department of Biotechnology,
School of Bioscience and Biotechnology
Ken Saito
3rd-year, Biomolecular Engineering, Department of Biotechnology,
School of Bioscience and Biotechnology
Naoki Watarai
3rd-year, Biological Information, Department of Bioscience,
School of Bioscience and Biotechnology
Emma Hatanaka
3rd-year, Biological Information, Department of Bioscience,
School of Bioscience and Biotechnology
Yuta Wakabayashi
3rd-year, Biological Information, Department of Biotechnology,
School of Bioscience and Biotechnology
Masanori Kawabata
3rd-year, Department of Electrical Engineering and Bioscience,
School of Advanced Science and Engineering, Waseda University
Tatsuhiro Isozaki
2nd-year, Department of Biotechnology,
School of Bioscience and Biotechnology
Ryota Fujiwara
2nd-year, Department of Bioscience,
School of Bioscience and Biotechnology
Shunta Suzuki
3rd-year, Bioengineering, Department of Biotechnology,
School of Bioscience and Biotechnology
Sairi Tomatsu
3rd-year, Bioengineering, Department of Biotechnology,
School of Bioscience and Biotechnology
Tatsuya Kobayashi
3rd-year, Bioengineering, Department of Biotechnology,
School of Bioscience and Biotechnology
Hiroshi Fujimoto
3rd-year, Bioengineering, Department of Biotechnology,
School of Bioscience and Biotechnology
Sara Ogino
3rd-year, Bioengineering, Department of Biotechnology,
School of Bioscience and Biotechnology
Hengyu Shi
3rd-year, Biological Information, Department of Biotechnology,
School of Bioscience and Biotechnology
Yochiku Shi
4th-year, Control and Systems Engineering,
School of Engineering


Team Tokyo Tech at MIT on November 4, 2013

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