In the final of 2021 International Genetic Engineering Machine Global, students from Noble Academy of the SSES Integrated Department and Gaston Day School beat their rivals and finally won the silver medal,sharing the victory with teams from MIT and Duke University.
The International Genetic Engineering Machine Competition (iGEM) originated in 2003 and is hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It is an annual international top academic competition in the field of synthetic biology.
The students of the SSES & GSD team focused on the biosafety issues of antibiotic resistance genes being transferred between different bacterial species leading to the spread of drug-resistant genes. The research innovatively evaluated the transfer risk of the lateral orientation of E. coli plasmids mediated by T4 bacteriophage under different conditions, confirming that T4 bacteriophage as a mobile element does increase the risk of horizontal transfer of antibiotic resistance genes between different strains. The research helps to understand the application of bacteriophages in the diagnosis and treatment of bacterial diseases, and contributes to the United Nations' sustainable development goals on health and well-being of mankind.
Communicative barrier, time difference, sending e-mails, and the difficulties of the project itself, including doing research, make me suffer. I had to spend lots of time figuring out some technical terms I had never heard of, some definitions I should learn in the university, and some essays about the topic which are only available in English online. At first, I felt uncomfortable speaking English in weekly meetings, afraid of saying and pronouncing words wrong, but when I forced myself to start questioning and sharing my own ideas, it shows that my concerns don’t matter.