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Team iGEM TokyoTech wins silver at international competition

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January 30, 2020

Team iGEM Tokyo Tech has won the silver medal at the 2019 International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition (iGEM) held in Boston, Massachusetts from October 31 to November 4. Approximately 360 teams and over 40,000 students participated.

(from left) PI and Assoc. Prof. Tagawa, students Saito, Tsuruta, Takahashi, Fujita

(from left) PI and Assoc. Prof. Tagawa, students Saito, Tsuruta, Takahashi, Fujita

The iGEM competition is an international synthetic biology competition for high school, undergraduate, and graduate-level students. Student teams are given a kit of standard genetic parts called BioBricks, and are asked to design and build a new biological system. Each team presents their results to a panel of judges.

In 2019, the Tokyo Tech team embarked on a journey to study Turing patterns, which offer a plausible explanation for the various stripes and patterns on animals such as zebras and giraffes. These patterns are simple enough to create using computer simulations, but are very difficult to recreate using cells.

In an attempt to elucidate the mechanism of pattern formation and understand morphogenesis, i.e. the appearance of an organism's body plan, the Tokyo Tech team programmed E. coli to form patterns by designing a new genetic circuit in which bacteria use N-acyl-L-homoserine lactone to communicate.

Comment from Tokyo Tech team leader

Moe Takahashi

3rd year, Life Science and Technology

I have been part of the iGEM team since I was a first-year student. We have had our ups and downs, but the support from our academic supervisors and other team members has been fantastic. We have worked hard and we are proud of our silver medal.

The iGEM competition appears to be experiencing a shift from science towards monozukuri, or the creation of things. For the Tokyo Tech team, which has a long history at the contest, there have been many obstacles, but the gains have also been significant. I sincerely hope our younger teammates and successors will continue to enjoy the challenges offered by the competition.

Participating students

  • Moe Takahashi 3rd year, Life Science and Technology
  • So Tsuruta 3rd year, Life Science and Technology
  • Akito Machida 3rd year, Life Science and Technology
  • Ryoto Matsuda 3rd year, Life Science and Technology
  • Yan Ming Voon 3rd year, Life Science and Technology
  • Shin Ying Ng 3rd year, Life Science and Technology
  • Kazuya Izawa 3rd year, Computer Science
  • Masaaki Nakano 3rd year, Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Takato Saito 2nd year, Life Science and Technology
  • Yusuke Kato 2nd year, Life Science and Technology
  • Yumi Kitano 2nd year, Life Science and Technology
  • Ayano Tabira 2nd year, Life Science and Technology
  • Koki Date 2nd year, Life Science and Technology
  • Aoi Shinkai 1st year, School of Life Science and Technology
  • Ryohei Ruhu 1st year, School of Life Science and Technology
  • Akari Kuroishi 1st year, School of Life Science and Technology
  • Tamaha Ogawa 1st year, School of Life Science and Technology
  • Hajime Fujita 4th year, Life Science and Technology

Instructors

Assoc. Prof. Yoh-ichi Tagawa, School of Life Science and Technology

Assoc. Prof. Nobuhiro Hayashi, School of Life Science and Technology

Prof. Masayuki Yamamura, School of Computing

Assoc. Prof. Yoshihisa Matsumoto, Institute of Innovative Research

Akifumi Nishida, Research Staff, School of Life Science and Technology

Shoya Yasuda, Research Staff, School of Life Science and Technology

Tokyo Tech Fund

Team iGEM TokyoTech is supported by Tokyo Tech Fund

Tokyo Institute of Technology Fund

School of Life Science and Technology

School of Life Science and Technology
—Unravel the Complex and Diverse Phenomena of Life—

Information on School of Life Science and Technology inaugurated in April 2016

School of Life Science and Technology

Schools, Departments, and Institute for Liberal Artsouter

School of Computing

School of Computing
—Creating the Future Information Society—

Information on School of Computing inaugurated in April 2016

School of Computing

Schools, Departments, and Institute for Liberal Artsouter

Contact

Public Relations Section

Email media@jim.titech.ac.jp
Tel +81-3-5734-2975

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