The University of Westminster International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) team, taking part in the 2017 competition, has hosted the annual iGEM pre-competition UK team meetup on 18 August for the second year running.

Westminster Biochemistry, Biological Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Pharmacology and Physiology students hosted a conference for all UK universities’ iGEM teams to meet up and discuss Synthetic Biology, with over 70 delegates attending. Two speakers specialised in the field, Dr Vitor Bernandes Pinhiero and Dr Stefanie Frank, were also invited to speak to students.

The event was made possible by a Biochemical Society Sponsored Event Grant awarded to Dr Caroline Smith, Course Leader for the Biological Sciences programme, who led the iGEM Westminster team with the help of Biochemistry Lecturer Dr Sarah Coleman.

For their 2017 project, the Westminster team is aiming to improve the effects of antibiotics through inhibiting biofilm formation by bacteria in order to increase their susceptibility to antibiotics.


The meet-up was very successful and iGEM students’ teams from all over the UK who attended the event shared their enthusiasm towards it. "It was so nice to meet everyone at the UK meetup,” said a student from the Cardiff IGEM team, while a student from the high school JUDD IGEM team said: "It was great to gain invaluable advice on our project.”

Phoenix Gater, one of the students from the Westminster iGEM team who organised the meet-up, said: "I gained a lot of scientific experience and I got stronger moving tables."

Reza Sarwary, another Westminster iGEM student in charge of the event, also said: "I grew my first grey hair, but an awesome experience to organise a scientific meetup."

Dr Sarah Coleman, a Biochemistry Lecturer who helped the Westminster iGEM team in the organisation of the event, also commented on the enthusiasm and knowledge of the teams which she said were “exhilarating".

Find out more about the Biomedical Sciences and Biosciences courses at the University of Westminster.

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