The University of Texas at Austin :: iGEM Team

What is synthetic biology? What is iGEM?

"Synthetic biology is the design and construction of biological devices and systems for useful purposes." –Wikipedia page

"The International Genetically Engineered Machine competition (iGEM) is the premiere undergraduate Synthetic Biology competition. Student teams are given a kit of biological parts at the beginning of the summer from the Registry of Standard Biological Parts. Working at their own schools over the summer, they use these parts and new parts of their own design to build biological systems and operate them in living cells." –iGEM Foundation

In the fall of each year, the iGEM community gathers at an annual "Jamboree" to present their work from the past year. Pre-COVID, World Jamborees were held in Boston. Starting in 2022, they moved to Paris, France. Select students will have a chance to attend this event (at least virtually) to present our team's work.

Interested in joining the UT Austin iGEM Team?

Participating in the iGEM competition is a unique opportunity for undergraduate students to gain research and career skills. iGEM is a science pentathlon! It's part synthetic biology research project, part robotics competition for biology, part entrepreneurial pitch contest, part bioethics course, and part engineering design project. Students are expected to explore their own project ideas, reflect on and explain how their proposed solution to a problem would benefit society, engage in outreach to stakeholders, and operate as a team to complete proof-of-principle research. After working on their research during the spring and summer, teams create a project website and give poster and oral presentations at a Jamboree in mid-fall with >350 teams from all over the world participating.

We are especially looking for NON-biologists to join the team! Maybe you are a design major, maybe pre-law, or a social scientist interested in how technology and science interacts with society. We want you on our 2024 iGEM team!

Click here for more information and application instructions! (link restricted to UT Austin students)

What do our alumni go on to do?

Our iGEM alumni regularly go on to prestigious graduate schools, medical schools, and biotech companies. Recent alumni have gone to Caltech, MIT, Harvard, UT Austin, and other prestigious graduate programs. They can also be found at medical schools throughout Texas. Within biotech, they work at companies such as Ginkgo Bioworks, Sanofi, and Zymergen.

Want to Sponsor the UT Austin iGEM Team?

Contact us if you are interested in sponsoring or having your company sponsor the incredible students on our iGEM team. You can also make a tax-deductible donation through our 40for40 giving page at any time. Your donations are used to support travel and participation in the international iGEM jamboree and to provide stipends to students during the summer.

Past UT Austin iGEM Team Projects

UT Austin has a long history of participation in iGEM, including:

  • Implementing bacterial photography (the Coliroid)
  • Creating caffeine-sensing and DNA-sensing bacteria.
  • Top 10 undergraduate team and Best Foundational Advance Award in 2022
  • Best Measurement Awards in 2019 and 2012.
  • Earning the top Gold Medal designation eight times.
  • iGEM team students as co-authors on scientific papers.

Click on the links or images below to learn more about their projects!

2022 iGEM Team
2021 iGEM Team
2020 iGEM Team
2019 iGEM Team
2018 iGEM Team
BHR plasmid kit
2017 iGEM Team
2016 iGEM Team
2015 iGEM Team
Breaking is Bad
2014 iGEM Team
GC Expansion Pack
2013 iGEM Team
MAPs and Bioscrubber
2012 iGEM Team
2006 iGEM Team
Edge Detector
2005 iGEM Team
Edge Detector
2004 iGEM Team
Bacterial Photography

UT iGEM Team Awards and Accomplishments

2022 Top 10 undergrad team
Winner Best Foundational Advance
Finalist Best Part Collection
Finalist Best Presentation
2021   2014 View topic ACS Synthetic Biology paper
2020   2013 Joint with North Carolina A&T
2019 Winner Best Measurement
Finalist Best Foundational Advance;
2012   Advance to Championship
Winner Best Experimental Measurement Approach, Americas West
View topic ACS Synthetic Biology paper
2018   2006   3rd Place Best System
2017   2005   Best Live Demo
Best Model-Driven Design
Best Proposed Funding Mechanism
2016 View topic Applied and Environmental Microbiology paper
View topic Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education paper
2004   One of five teams to participate in the 1st ever iGEM competition!
Winner Grand Prize
View topic Cell paper

2022 UT iGEM team with the Best Foundational Advance Award (Photo: Nolan Zunk, UT Austin)

2019 UT iGEM team with the Best Measurement Award for their Burden-O-Meter project

*Credit for iGEM medal images:

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Contributors to this topic Edit topic JeffreyBarrick, DennisMishler, CameronRoots
Topic revision: r61 - 2023-09-23 - 21:21:23 - Main.JeffreyBarrick
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