SUNY Oneonta Student Team Competes in International Biology Competition

SUNY Oneonta's student team has entered the 2020 iGEM competition, a contest that gives students the opportunity to push the boundaries of synthetic biology by tackling everyday issues facing the world.

The iGEM competition gives students the opportunity to push the boundaries of synthetic biology by tackling everyday issues facing the world. Made up of primarily university students, multidisciplinary teams work together to design, build, test, and measure a system of their own design using interchangeable biological parts and standard molecular biology techniques. Every year, nearly 6,000 people dedicate their summer to iGEM and then come together in the fall to present their work and compete at the annual Jamboree.

The college's team was questioned by a panel of five judges from all over the world (France, Spain, Brazil and the U.S.) about the different aspects of their project, named Ca2LF (Confirming A2 Alleles using Luminescence in the Field).

SUNY Oneonta's iGem team began by giving a short summary of their notable achievements, which included testing protocols for amplifying DNA using RPA - an isothermal DNA amplification system, creating positive control DNA clones, cloning a yeast 5' Flap Endonuclease for detection of SNPs, building a homology model for the yeast Flap Endonuclease (no previously published model exists), and planning and building prototypes for devices that can be used in their system. In addition, the team discussed the three-week virtual CDO-GoSTEM science camp that they organized and led for local middle school students in July.

The team was questioned for 20 minutes. "They handled the rigorous questioning session well and represented our campus admirably," said Assistant Professor Jill Fielhaber, who coaches the team with Assistant Professor Kelly Gallagher. "Kelly and I were able to observe the entire session through a live stream, and could not have been more proud of how the team performed."

Now the SUNY Oneonta team is waiting for the final judging decisions. Finalists for the high school, undergraduate and over-graduate divisions will be announced Nov. 19 at 9 a.m. during iGem's Community Week - a series of virtual conferences and workshops held as part of the competition. Winners of each division will be announced during the closing virtual ceremony, held Nov. 22 At this time, iGEM will also award special prizes to teams whose work was the best-of-the-best for each of the different competition attributes. Medal awardees will also be announced during the ceremony. The teams has the possibility of being awarded gold, silver, or bronze medals based on their achievements.

More information regarding iGEM and the SUNY Oneonta 2020 iGEM team can be found on the college website. On the news page, you can find links to view the team's competition materials: a poster, 20-minute oral presentation, two-minute advertisement, and project wiki.

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