iGEM International Genetic Engineering Machine Competition


iGEM is a worldwide synthetic biology competition with over 350 teams every year. The RAIN team most recently earned a bronze medal in our first appearance, toppling teams from Ivy league schools and all corners of the globe, and continues to put Tacoma on the bioengineering map in bold.  This successful launch motivated us come back to the competition stronger than before, solving problems facing the Puget Sound community and propelling our student scientists to greater heights.  Come by and check out the impressive work these brilliant students are doing, and hear their vision for the final product!

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 execute new purposes. Our team is comprised of local high school and college students, as well as military personnel.

iGem 2017

Utilizing E.Coli to Fluoresce Arsenic


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 competition's consistently successful teams have been working on the same iGEM project for multiple years in a row -- they fine-tune experiments throughout the year and deliver a well thought-out and functional project by the end of the competition.

The 2017 team developed an arsenic biosensor. 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.

Though successful, the project is not complete. We intend to keep it alive as a true research project, and continue to develop it into an increasingly more effective and practical arsenic detector. Your help is critical and greatly appreciated. RAIN has entered the 2018 iGEM competition to keep up the momentum!


Want to be a part of the project?


The 2018 RAIN International Genetically Engineered machine (iGEM)  team has begun a new project 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 began in June and the team is now 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.