The University of Texas at Austin :: iGEM Team

heart Donate to the UT Austin iGEM team – to support travel, supplies, and research stipends for our excellent students!

Lab space shared by the UT Austin iGEM team and the UT Freshman Research Initiative (FRI) Microbe Hackers and Biobricks streams

What is synthetic biology? What is iGEM?

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

For a flavor of what synthetic biology is like, check out the Adventures in Synthetic Biology comic.

"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

Past UT Austin iGEM Team Projects

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

Interested in joining the 2019 iGEM Team?

2015 iGEM team at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston during the 2015 Jamboree

Expectations for Members of the Team

  1. Previous experience
    • It is expected that new iGEM team members will have previous research experience in a field such as: biology, molecular biology, chemistry, engineering, computer science, programming, phsyics, math, etc.... Many members have participated in the Freshmen Research Initiative (FRI) here at UT or previously worked in a research lab on campus. Previous research experience is not an absolute requirement for highly motivated students.
    • We encourage non-biologists to apply. Many of the most successful and interesting iGEM projects of all time have had contributions from computer scientists, physicists, mathematicians, game programmers, graphic designers, visual artists... This year we are particularly interested in recruiting students with programming and artistic backgrounds.
  2. Fall/Spring: Weekly Meetings on Synthetic Biology (Fall ~5 hrs/week; Spring 10 hrs/week)
    • In the past, new students were required to participate in the synthetic biology seminar course taught by Professor Barrick and Clinical Professor Dennis Mishler. However, this course will not be offered in 2018. Instead, you will attend weekly meetings examining the field of synthetic biology: discussing important papers, presenting past winning iGEM projects, and working as part of a group to propose an iGEM-style project that the team might work on during the summer.
    • The weekly meetings will be a mix of our 2014 course: 2014 Synthetic Biology Course and our spring FRI course.
    • Weekly meeting times will be scheduled at the end of 2017 and confirmed in January 2018.
    • On some weeks you will lead the discussion and present, on other weeks you will be expected to participate in lab work or discussions.
    • Participating in these meetings
    • Attendance at these meetings is required to gain the necessary background for participating in the iGEM team.
    • You will also be required to attend weekly lab times in the spring. These ~4 hour lab periods will allow you to either begin your research project or teach you the basic techniques required to be successful during the summer. You will be given protocols and assistance to accomplish this during the spring semester.
  3. Spring: Begin Research and SXSW Create (10 hrs/week)
    • Main objective is to learn techniques and perform exploratory projects under the supervision of current team members.
    • Since 2014 the UT iGEM team has participated in SXSW with a synthetic biology outreach project. We hope to participate in 2018. All member are expected to use this as a learning experience.
    • Write research proposals and apply for summer funding/fellowships. Several research fellowships will provide a research stipend for full-time work during the summer. All iGEM team members will be required to apply for funding, under the guidance of Professors Barrick and Mishler. Last year 1 non-freshmen students received an award.
    • Brainstorm and find funding sources for iGEM summer work and travel to the competition. Research is not cheap, and neither are scientific conferences. Members of the iGEM team will search for local sponsors and other organizations that might help cover the costs of doing undergraduate research. Students will be encouraged to be pro-active in searching for funds on campus or from biotech companies. In 2016 a student organization was formed that will allow us to fundraise on campus. You are expected to assist in these efforts.
  4. Summer: Main Work on iGEM Project
    • Non-freshmen are expected to contribute 20+ hours of work per week for most of the summer on the iGEM project. This can be arranged with Professor Mishler, as some students may have a summer stipend and can work more hours while other students may have a part time job or classes.
    • In the past many of the most successful students have conducted research for 40+ hours per week during the summer.
    • Most students take a 1 week break either before or while working with us over the summer.
    • It is STRONGLY recommended that students take an additional week off at the end of their summer research experience, before the start of their fall semester. This can be in addition to any break you take while working with us during the summer.
    • Students will be largely independent with access to UT researchers, who can provide feedback, insight and suggestions to assist your research.
    • Students will have regular small meetings with Professor Mishler and weekly team meetings with additional UT researchers.
    • If sufficient time is spent writing a proposal and working on a specific project, signing up for research credit for the spring, summer, or fall is possible.
    • Team members will have specific responsibilities to finish to prepare us for the fall competition, such as website construction, making figures, or powerpoint presentations.
    • As our big presentation at the Jamboree will be in October this year, much of the preparation will need to be finished by the end of August.
  5. Fall: Prepare for and attend iGEM World Jamboree, in October/November (10+ hrs/week).

How to Apply

  • Send a resume (or CV) and a short (2-page) statement about why you are interested in synthetic biology and a possible research project.
  • Your resume/CV should include your GPA, your expected semester&year of graduation, and what science-related courses you are taking in Fall 2018 and plan to take in Spring 2019.
  • As part of that 2 page statement, please refer to one of your previous research experiences and how that experience will make you a great iGEM teammate. Include at least one idea you have for a possible project or use for synthetic biology to improve society. (it doesn't necessarily have to be realistic for an iGEM project). Mail your application as a PDF to . You will receive an e-mail confirmation once we have begun looking at your application.
  • DEADLINE: Applications are due by November 10th, 2018 to receive full consideration.
  • Depending on the number and quality of applicants, we expect to be able to accommodate several new non-freshmen students.
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Topic revision: r34 - 01 May 2018 - 13:18:02 - Main.JeffreyBarrick
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