SPS Collaboration with University of Hong Kong and ETH Zurich: iGEM competition


This year, NUS will be sending a team to participate in the 2016 International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition held in Boston, USA, from 27 to 31 October. The team, NUS_Singapore, comprises 11 students from the Faculty of Science, six of whom are enrolled in the Faculty's Special Programme in Science (SPS).


The iGEM competition is an annual worldwide event for high school, undergraduate and post-graduate students interested in the new and exciting field of synthetic biology. It is organised by the iGEM Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to education in the advancement of synthetic biology and innovative biologically-engineered systems that solve real-world challenges.


This year, nine members will be designing and conducting experiments in the laboratory while two members will be working on the computational modelling aspect of the project. This year's project is partially an extension of last year's project, where the SPS team modified E. coli bacteria to develop a targeted delivery system of anti-cancer drugs directly to cancerous cells in the tumour core. Last year, the SPS team did the Faculty proud at the Giant Jamboree, winning a Silver Medal.


The NUS and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) teams are the only iGEM teams from Singapore this year. The NTU team was hosted by SPS to lunch on 1 July, where project details and potential collaborations were discussed. The collaboration will focus on Human Practices - an iGEM judging criterion that encourages teams to explore ways that their research can impact society. Both teams agreed to work towards generating a local iGEM/synthetic biology community.


On 1 July, NUS_Singapore hosted a visit for Mr LAI Hei Wai, a second year Biochemistry undergraduate from the University of Hong Kong (HKU) and HKU’s iGEM team leader. Hei Wai visited University Town and concluded his visit with a tour of the SPS wet lab and the new Science canteen.


On 10 June, Team NUS_Singapore also hosted a visit for Mr Lucas SCHAUS, who completed his B.Sc. in Chemistry and is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Biochemistry at ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich). Together with the ETH_Zurich iGEM team, NUS_Singapore will collaborate by exchanging modelling expertise.



Singapore iGEM teams from NUS and NTU meet up at Faculty of Science, NUS. From left to right: Corey Bryen LINGAM (NUS), CHAN Man Yau (NUS), NGUYEN Hoang Diem Phuong (NUS), CHOI YanRu (NUS), Janice DARIKHO (NUS), Keshiniy MADIVANNAN (NUS), ANG Shi Hui (NUS), WONG Chi Yan (NUS), LIU Zhehui (NTU; Year 4 Biological Sciences), OOI Kean Hean (NTU; Year 3 Biological Sciences and Chemical Biology), Shaun LIM Wen Zheng (NTU; Graduating Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering), YONG Jing Yen (NTU; Year 3 Biological Sciences), ZHANG Junyi (NTU; Year 4 Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering), Dr Robert LIEU Zi Zhao (NUS SPS Lecturer and NUS iGEM Primary PI), A/P LIOU Yih-Cherng (NUS SPS Director and NUS iGEM Secondary PI)



HKU iGEM's Lai Hei Wei (centre) with NUS iGEM's Chan Man Yau (left) and Wong Chi Yan (right) at University Town



Hei Wai with Team NUS_Singapore at the SPS wet lab. Left to right: Chan Man Yau, Lai Hei Wai, Wong Chi Yan, Choi Yan Ru, Nguyen Hoang Diem Phuong, Janice Darikho, Keshiniy Madivannan, Ang Shi Hui



Team NUS_Singapore with Lucas Schaus from ETH_Zurich. Left to right: Priyanka Kamath, Chan Man Yau, Corey Bryen Lingam, Lucas Schaus (Team ETH_Zurich), Keshiniy Madivannan, Ang Shi Hui, Choi Yan Ru, Nguyen Hoang Diem Phuong, Wong Chi Yan



Project sharing and collaboration discussion in SPS Headquarters