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Peshawar Team Set to Attend International Synthetic Biology Contest

They have developed a system to detect pollutants in water
By TR Pakistan

A team of undergraduate students from Pakistan will be competing in the International Genetically Engineered Machines Competition (iGEM) 2017.

The event will be held between November 9 and November 13 in the United States. Supported by the Directorate of Science and Technology of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the iGEM Peshawar team will be the only team from Pakistan to participate in the competition this year with their Project F.

Reporting contamination

Recent studies have shown that there is an alarming concentration of heavy-metals in Pakistan’s water resources, with 60 million people affected by arsenic content. To solve this problem, the team has come up with Project F. It provides detection and an alert of heavy metal contamination in water through BioBrick devices and an Arduino digital interface.

The team has engineered a ‘Reporter Fish’ which can detect five different kinds of metals. In order to have a real-time alert system for biosensors, the team has also designed an Arduino-based bacterial-human interface device.

Read more: Peshawar Team Wins Bronze at iGEM 2016

The 12-member team comprises two civil and electronic engineers. Others members have expertise in various subfields of biology. These students are from Comsats University, International Islamic University, Kohat University of Science and Technology, University of Peshawar, National University of Sciences and Technology, Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute, University of Engineering and Technology Peshawar, Forman Christian College and Institute Of Integrative Biosciences, CECOS University.

Biologists of the world unite

iGEM is the flagship international student competition of the global synthetic biology community. Here, students work together on synthetic biology solutions for local and global problems. The iGEM Foundation is dedicated to the advancement of synthetic biology and the development of an open community and collaboration.

The project started as an independent study course at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where students developed devices. Later, it became a summer competition in 2003. Since then, the event has become an annual international competition reaching 42 countries and with over 5,000 participants.

The iGEM Competition invites teams from across the world to present their synthetic biology projects and compete for prizes. Over 300 international teams will be competing in the event this year which will take place at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston.

Last year, a team of students from Peshawar won a bronze medal for their project on a BioSensor device that could detect carbon monoxide and oxides of nitrogen, the two most dangerous constituents of exhaust fumes.

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