Team:Baltimore US


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DIY-Gem: a path towards low-cost high-throughput gene synthesis

Synthetic biology research requires more cost effective approaches toward wetware and hardware accessibility. We are developing low-cost alternatives to existing tools and techniques in an attempt to expand participation in biological research and development. Our project expands the accessibility of Taq polymerase by engineering it to BioBrick standards. This allows for the expression and recovery of polymerase from transformed E. coli at a fraction of the cost of highly purified commercial enzyme. In addition, we have developed inexpensive and easily assembled lab equipment such as a gel-electrophoresis apparatus and a PCR thermal cycler. By enabling researchers to synthesize their own reagents and purchase or produce inexpensive tools, we hope to lower the barriers to entry for synthetic biology.

Baltimore-US includes members from local educational institutions including the Community College of Baltimore County, and Loyola and Towson Universities, along with members of local DIY communities. We wish to create a venue that enables the broader community to step into the iGEM competition, to gain hands-on laboratory experience, and to learn the tools and techniques necessary to explore the emerging field of synthetic biology while under the watchful eye of trained professionals.

Faculty Instructors and Advisors

  • Tom Burkett, Associate Professor of Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing at CCBC
  • Lisa Scheifele, Assistant Professor of Biology at Loyola University Maryland
  • Elizabeth Goode, Associate Professor of Mathematics at Towson University.

Our members range in age and experience. We've got biological and electrical engineers, computer scientists and computer programmers and curious novices. We've come together with enthusiasm to try and see what we might be able to accomplish with these new technologies.

Baltimore-US thanks the following companies for donations to our team:

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