iGEM 2018

The 2018 RAIN International Genetically Engineered machine (iGEM)  team will begin a new project in January with several returning members. Our team is looking for highly motivated and intelligent students with interest  in bio-engineering looking to participate in innovative ways to solve biologic problems. Our team of scientists hold meetings on Saturdays throughout the year to help educate students on scientific concepts such as PCR, transduction, transformation, and use of plasmids in the lab. Our primary research begins in June and slows down in September during which time the students are actively pursuing their own DNA cloning and biosensor development projects. To learn more about applying for the iGEM team contact Kristine Grace kristineg@rainincubator.org and visit the iGEM website.


iGem 2017

Utilizing E.Coli to Fluoresce Arsenic

This year the RAIN student team took a bronze medal at the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition in Boston... matching teams at Stanford, Harvard, and Pasteur Paris. This is one example of the many fruits the Readiness Acceleration & Innovation Network has to bare. 

The purpose of the competition is for students to realize the potential of synthetic biology and to encourage the creation of new technologies. So what is synthetic biology? We take DNA sequences from known pathways and rearrange them to fit out purposes. iGEM is a competition for teams in these categories: high school, undergraduate, overgraduate (post grad), and community (which is us, a mix of students at all levels). Our team is comprised of high school and college students, as well as military personnel.

iGEM officially starts in the summer and is open to teams in these categories: high school, undergraduate, overgraduate (post grad), and community (which is us, a mix of students at all levels). The 2017 team was named Cadets2Vets as a nod to our Army sponsorship and the involvement of West Point cadets and veterans, in addition to non-military students from Tacoma area high school and colleges. Many of the more successful teams have been working on the same iGEM project for multiple years in a row -- they have the luxury of fine-tuning experiments throughout the year and can deliver a well thought-out and functional project by the end of the competition.

The Jamboree is the oral and poster presentation for all teams in the competition. It is a 5-day conference in Boston open to all teams. The 2017 team developed an arsenic sensor. There is an arsenic regulator protein (ArsR) that suppresses the activity of a reporter, Green Fluorescent Protein. When we combine the arsenic sensor plasmid DNA with a cellular extract, we have a complete system where DNA can be transcribed to RNA, and then translated to protein. GFP mRNA is only made in the presence of arsenic, because arsenic binds to ArsR and forces it to release its transcriptional block of GFP.

Although the project is not complete, we intend to keep it alive as a true research project, and your help is greatly appreciated. RAIN will enter a 2018 iGEM team to keep up the momentum!