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MIT iGEM 2010

The 2010 MIT iGEM team. We are biological engineers, physicists, electrical engineers, chemical engineers, mathematicians, and computer scientists.
Programmable, Self-constructing Biomaterials

The 2010 MIT iGEM team focused on the control and production of self-constructing and self-repairing living biomaterials through both bacterial and mammalian engineering. We ventured to set up the framework for material formation in both types of cells, for future applications in living, self-repairing materials and in vitro organogenesis respectively.

We have accomplished far beyond what we expected of ourselves! In addition to our project, we have created a new Mammalian Biobrick standard, contributed original parts for mammalian cells and bacteriophage, and we have biobricked two working toggles for the registry.

Project Description

In an effort to form self-assembling three-dimensional biomaterials, we are attempting two parallel paths in mammalian differentiation and phage polymerization. In mammalian cells, our goal is to induce bone formation in response to a pressure stimulus. Our system will sense mechanical stimulation via a pressure-sensitive promoter, identified by screening the fluid shear stress response of a library of candidate promoters in microfluidic devices. The activity of this promoter will feed into a bi-stable toggle circuit, optimized using a mathematical model, which will convert a transient stimulus into constitutive expression of a factor that induces bone formation. For our phage portion, we plan to induce polymer formation in bacterial cells, using UV light to control the pattern of polymer growth. In addition, we will integrate various fluorescent proteins into our system, each of which is dependent upon quorum sensing processes. Our completed project will allow for the creation of visible bacteriophage structures against a user-directed, multichromatic background.