In this very special episode, we hear from Dev, Charity, and Diana, who are part of a team competing in this years’ iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) competition. Students from the University of Edinburgh and from the University of Health and Allied Services in Ghana joined forces to develop synthetic biology projects to solve local problems. The local problem they want to tackle? Heavy metal and plastic pollution in water bodies. Detecting pollution in rural areas can be difficult, so the team was working on a cell-free biosensor that can detect a variety of dangerous metals. To then remediate the problem, they designed a cellulose hydrogel to “mop-up” contaminants in water. Additionally, they address plastic pollution by investigating an enzyme cocktail for biodegradation of PET plastic. We also hear about what they learned during the competition and how they enjoyed being part of an international collaboration.
iGEM wiki: https://2022.igem.wiki/edinburgh-uhas-ghana/index.html