Gold medal in synthetic biology – University of Copenhagen

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23 October 2013

Gold medal in synthetic biology

A student team from University of Copenhagen has won the gold medal at the European Championship (iGEM, see below) in synthetic biology for students. Two of their instructors, Associate Prof. Björn Hamberger and Postdoc Brian King, are also involved in the Plant Power project.

The winning team and their instructors: Thomas Stenum, Eleonora Guglielmo, Niels Christian Sandén, Nanna Lunding Jensen, Will Wright, Signe Tang Karlsen, Emil Fischer, Anna Holzwarth, Kim Ströh, Ida Marie Boisen, Suzanne Schmidt, Assoc. Prof. Adam Takos, Postdoc Eva Knoch, Postdoc Brian King and Assoc. Prof. Björn Hamberger (all from Center for Synthetic Biology). Photo: Emil Polny

(International Genetically Engineered Machine competition) is a competition for students from around the world. In the spring the participants received a toolbox with various tools, and during the summer, they use these tools to build biological systems and get them to function in living cells. The Danish students have spent all summer at Center for Synthetic Biology at University of Copenhagen, and reveived the medal for the idea of magnetic cancer drugs as well as a platform for knowledge sharing.

Magnetic cancer drugs is inspired by marine bacteria

The gold-wining idea is about using nature's own magnets, which can be found in special marine bacteria, to find and fight tumors. They have managed to show that you can attach molecules such as anti-cancer drugs to the magnets. It can make the treatment of tumors more accurate in the future.
The students 'project idea has great potential and has in particular been praised by senior consultant at Herlev Hospital, Michael Nemery who call the small magnets "a dream substance' which could elegantly make the whole cancer treatment easier. Both in terms of diagnosis, treatment and follow-up.

Bricks of Knowledge makes iGEM easier 

The winning team from University of Copenhagen (UCPH) has also been praised for their ambitious' Bricks of Knowledge' project, which is a platform with video tutorials made by iGEM teams from around the world. The videos pass on their experiences on everything from fundraising for advice on methods in the laboratory.

The aim is to make it easier for all students worldwide to participate in the demanding iGEM - especially teams from less affluent parts of the world, which usually do not dream of being iGEM team. The students from UCPH hope that Bricks of Knowledge will one day become an official part of iGEM. See the videos made so far.

For more information see the Danish news story in Universitetsavisen (the University paper, only in Danish) and visit the UCPH iGEM team's own homepage.