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What is Synthetic Biology and why is it important?
Synthetic biology is an emerging scientific discipline converging nano-scale biology, computation and engineering. Synthetic biologists design and construct new biological parts, devices and systems to perform specific tasks. By modularizing genetic components of living systems into standardized, exchangeable units, synthetic biologists develop a platform to program biological systems more effectively. The modular approach facilitates biological experimentation and promotes a deeper understanding of principles of life. Synthetic biology fundamentally innovates biological engineering, enabling better applications in nano-technology, medicine, agriculture, bio-remediation and energy production.

iGEM - an integral part of Synthetic Biology
iGEM is the international Genetically Engineered Machine competition, a celebrated annual event at MIT. At the competition jamboree, undergraduate research teams from all over the world present new biological parts after a process of design, construction and characterization. iGEM not only promotes synthetic biology by expanding the number of useful biological parts freely available to the world, but it also prepares a new generation of young scientists for a technology-driven future through experimentation and collaboration.

The first iGEM competition took place in 2004 with 5 participating teams. In 2006, 37 teams participated in the competition jamboree. In 2008, the number has increased to 83. As iGEM becomes more popular, its collection of biological parts also expands at an increasing rate, from about 100 basic parts in 2004 to more than 2000 parts today!

Who are the MIT iGEM team?
Our team consists of many talented scientists, including:

- Undergraduate researchers who have demonstrated great enthusiasm and sound understanding of synthetic biology. The research team performs experiments on a full-time basis during the summer. In early autumn, the team prepares formal presentations, a poster and a seminar, for the competition jamboree, which takes place in early November.

- Graduate advisors, who are graduate students volunteering to build and guide the undergraduate research team. Graduate advisors recruit undergraduate researchers, fundraise, lead the brainstorming process for research project design and help supervise the undergraduate research team until the competition jamboree.

- Faculty advisors from multiple departments. They provide expertise on research projects to ensure a successful learning experience for both undergraduate and graduate members.

What to know more about the current team members or join the team? Come see everyone at this web page.

The MIT iGEM Team Needs Your Financial Support!
Our iGEM team cannot thrive without adequate sponsorship. The undergraduate researchers need salary funding on a full-time scale during summer so that they can concentrate on laboratory work, which is crucial for the success of their iGEM project. Additional funding is needed to purchase laboratory reagents for synthesis of novel biological parts and their characterization. Entry to the competition also requires team registration and attendance fees. We value iGEM as an excellent teaching and learning opportunity for all team members as well as a great venue for scientific contribution. We believe that our participation in iGEM embodies MIT's commitment to science and education, and we sincerely appreciate your help to build the MIT iGEM team.

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