Oklahoma State University has the only active International Genetically Engineered Machine Team in the state of Oklahoma and this is the first year that Oklahoma State University will send a team to compete in the iGEM Competition and Grand Jamboree.
What is iGEM?
The iGEM competition began in 2003 at MIT with a mere 5 schools competing. Since then, it has grown into 350+ teams from 45 different countries. Each year, the teams are tasked to find a problem within society and use synthetic biology principles to discover a solution. The teams are comprised of students from a multitude of disciplines spanning from business to engineering to biology. Together, they work in research laboratories, develop hardware or modelling systems for their project, participate in community involvement, and create business models on the feasibility of their solution. At the end of the competition season, all the teams from around the world meet at the Grand Jamboree. At the Grand Jamboree, they present their project and compete for grand prizes, along with medals for individual accomplishments. The Grand Jamboree is also an important place for students to connect with peers from around the world, network with companies, and interact with faculty at other institutions. The iGEM competition gives undergraduate students the chance to perform research on topics they care about while furthering their academic and professional lives.
What is the Okstate iGEM Team doing?
The Okstate iGEM Team has already begun working on their project for the competition in 2023. In order to stay true to their Oklahoma roots and develop a solution that affects their state, they are focusing on Methane Mitigation in agricultural wastewater. Climate change is one of the leading problems for this generation and methane is one of the leading culprits. Enteric Fermentation in Agricultural livestock counted for 27% of all U.S. Methane emissions for 2020. The current methods of methane containment for agriculture waste water aren't effective and there needs to be a new solution to methane emissions. The Okstate iGEM team is going to genetically engineer a bacteria cell, E. Coli, to contain the methane monooxygenase protein. This will allow the bacteria to consume methane and convert it into methanol. The methanol can then be purified and used as a biofuel for industrial purposes.
Why should you support the Okstate iGEM Team?
While the Okstate iGEM team has the idea for the project and the funds to perform the research, they don't have the funds to register for the competition or send their students to the grand jamboree. This competition will help showcase the talented students that Oklahoma State University has while allowing for real world experience for undergraduate students across all disciplines. The Grand Jamboree will help expand the connections that each undergraduate has and help shape where they want to go with their careers after college. In order for this experience to be a possibility for the Okstate iGEM Team, they need your help. Every donation will help fund the registration and student costs associated with attending the jamboree. With your support, the undergraduate students involved with the Okstate iGEM team can have the experience of a lifetime.