Students Collaborate at NEGEM Meet-Up

iGEM teams from all over New England gathered at Boston University for a conference where they shared their projects with each other and gave and received feedback. NEGEM, held June 24 in the BU Photonics building, hosted teams from BU, MIT, Harvard, Northeastern, Tufts and many other local schools. The event was sponsored by Benchling, a biotechnology company.

iGEM, the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition, is a global synthetic biology competition aimed at undergraduates, high school students and graduate students. Teams work all summer long to create genetically engineered systems using standard biological parts called Biobricks, according to the iGEM website. The goal of the projects is to positively contribute to the teams’ communities and the world.

At the NEGEM meet-up, all nine teams presented their research and their plans for the Human Practices and Policies portion of their project. After presenting, other iGEMers, mentors and representatives from iGEM headquarters asked each team about the ethical implications of its project, plans for future outreach and clarification of its research.

Also in attendance was Traci Haddock-Angelli, an iGEM HQ member and a former mentor at Boston University. As a mentor, Haddock-Angelli founded NEGEM as a way for local teams to collaborate easily, one of the competition requirements for winning a silver medal. She gave a brief talk about what it means to be an iGEMers and recent changes HQ has made.

At the end of the meet-up, teams walked away with valuable feedback from their mentors and peers, ready to continue working on their projects for the competition, set to take place in October.