University of Heidelberg

What is iGEM?

iGEM - A World Championship

iGEM teams at WCJ in 2012

iGEM (international Genetically Engineered Machines Competition) is a competition in Synthetic Biology organized at MIT in Cambridge/Boston since 2003. The competition is today widely considered as a prestigious world championship for undergraduate students in particular in the area of molecular biotechnology. More than 200 teams with students from world renowned universities have participated in 2013, while the number of teams and thus of overall participants is annually still growing. After the German teams of Freiburg and Heidelberg were awarded the second overall place in 2008 and 2009, respectively, the Heidelberg team could in 2013 as first German team in the history of this competition secure the Grand Prize and underline in this way the excellence of the University of Heidelberg for research oriented Synthetic Biology education.

Synthetic Biology Research

Synthetic Biology (or with regard to iGEM more precisely: synthetic genetics) is a young field, which combines genetic and quantitative methods with a modern vision of technology. A fundamental principle in iGEM is the usage of genetic parts for the construction of novel systems with defined functions. These genetic parts are made by iGEM teams and are collected in the Registry of Standard Biological Parts. They are available to all iGEM participants and are used and improved throughout the competition. This registry contains currently several thousand parts.

Research made by Students

Most unique to iGEM is that all crucial aspects of research - i.e. project development, experimental planning, gene engineering, and part or systems characterization - are carried out by students. Although experienced advisors hold off the team, iGEM offers a unique chance for students to participate and grow in challenging project work in a nascent yet promising research field. Due to its interdisciplinary character iGEM addresses students from molecular biotechnology, biology, biochemistry and applied mathematics at the same time. The emphasis, however, lies on the experimental part in the laboratory.

Important Links

More information on the iGEM competition and synthetic biology can be found at  -  iGEM official homepage - Registry of biological Parts - iGEM wiki of team Heidelberg 2013


Contact: E-Mail (Last update: 15/06/2018)