Past iGEM Projects

Curious about our past projects?




Tackling Triclosan using Laccase

Lake Michigan serves as the water supply for 48 million people and supports a vast and interconnected ecosystem. Recently, pharmaceutical pollutants have found their way into our water like Triclosan, an antibacterial agent present in 93% of gels, foams, and soaps marketed as “antibacterial” or “antimicrobial”. One of the top 4 pollutants in Lake Michigan, our 2021 project consisted of engineering a tailored enzyme inspired by Laccase that effectively deactivates Triclosan at wastewater conditions to make it easier for wastewater treatment plants to purify water and prevent environmental threats to the community.

Computationally Optimizing PET Degradation

 An estimated 63,320 microplastic particles can be found within several meters of the every square kilometer of ocean surface on earth. With public health risks and environmental damage increasing at an alarming rate, we envisioned a biochemical approach to reducing the threat posed by one of the largest contributors to worlwide microplastic pollution: PET. Optizyme is the product of our work in 2020. It is the result of a sustained effort to use novel computational methods to not only inform our biochemical approach, but to actively improve upon it. 

Producing Long-Chain Alkanes in Cyanobacteria for Biofuels

Despite diminishing supplies, petroleum and other non-renewable energy sources remain a major component of the energy production process. Alternative energies such as wind and solar, despite recent improvements, are still burdened with highly costs of implementation into current infrastructure. Biofuels serve as a possible intermediate, but is currently limited by batch production of chemicals.Our project in 2019 sought to overcome this by producing one of the main chemical substituent of jet fuel in order to produce a more sustainable and economical form of jet fuel.