The increasing cost and negative environmental effect of fossil hydrocarbon-derived conventional plastics has escalated the need for economically realistic alternatives. Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are a class of microbially synthesized, biodegradable thermoplastics that exhibit material properties comparable to those of conventional plastics. The Utah State University IGEM team project is focused on creating an efficient system for monitoring PHA production in recombinant microorganisms.
TEAM USU BACKGROUND
Utah State University is proud to be involved in the 2008 IGEM competition. This will be the first year that USU has participated. Most of the students on the USU team had little or no experience with genetic engineering or synthetic biology prior to this project. When first hearing about the competition, the team became very excited about joining the "playground" of genetic engineering! The team met several times over pizza to look at what had been done in the past to give them inspiration for their project. Though many project topics were seriously discussed, the team decided to look at a way to monitor Polyhydroxybutyrate production in microorganisms by inserting a reporter in the PHB cassette. This project was selected because of its potential to make the PHB production process more efficient and cost effective by creating a simple system for determining the optimum time for PHB extraction.
USU is located in Logan UT and is nestled in the beautiful mountains of Cache Valley. For those interested in a great education and are looking for amazing outdoor adventures and recreation, USU is perfect!!