iGem mty

Human Practices

As representatives of the iGEM competition and synthetic biology communities, our team aims to serve as a positive influence locally and globally. iGEM Tec Monterrey recognize significant broad impacts of our 2013 iGEM research project, both for potential therapeutic applications stemming from our novel technology and for the social impact that our Human Practice Project generated.

Furthermore, we aim to promote a wider understanding of the synthetic biology field within the local and global communities and have organized several outreach and educational programs to accomplish this goal.

Finally, we understand the importance of collaboration within the scientific community as a means of progress and have thus worked closely with fellow iGEM teams to foster positive connections and provide valuable assistance on their research projects.

Mexican Indigenous Communities Cancer-Self Examination Plan

This year, iGEM Tec Monterrey is working on a novel bacterial therapy against cancer cells. Even when synthetic biology advances promise successful ways to treat cancer patients in a near future, our team knows that prevention will always be better than cure.

In Mexico, more than 3,500 women die every year for breast cancer, becoming the leading cause of deaths and the second most common tumor in this population. Moreover, one of the main problems of this type of malignancy in Mexico is the lack of early detection. Between 70 and 80 percent of patients go to to seek care in advanced stages of the disease.

Those who have suffered from this disease and has exceeded the risk of relapse, hence the need to continue under observation for a period of five years, to avoid complications, which may be more aggressive than the first time, also because it generates resistance to conventional treatments.

During the last years, Mexican health institutions have made a great effort to educate the population with national and regional campaigns promoting cancer-self examination protocols, nevertheless, all the information given to the people is distributed and explained in Spanish, being this the official language of the country.

Nowadays, in Mexico there are more than 15 million indigenous people distributed in several communities across the country and approximately 5.4% of the Mexican population speaks an indigenous language. Therefore, there is an important lack of information distribution regarding health issues along the indigenous communities.

This year we wanted to set ourselves as pioneers in the field of making cancer related information accessible to these communities, so in order to promote breast cancer prevention, we decided to translate a complete breast self-examination manual to Otomí and Zapoteco two of the most spoken indigenous dialects in the country.

The manual includes the basic information required for a self-examination breast cancer tumor. It had also been edited in .pdf format manual so the information could be managed by regional and national health organizations to which the information is going to be provided.

This manual represents the first initiative to encourage public institutions to provide health related information within cancer prevention campaigns in the country.


This year our team had the opportunity to partner with TEDx Youth Garza García in our city Monterrey in November the 16th, and TEDx Coyoacán in Mexico City in December 17th.

This is a great opportunity to present to not only our city, but also a part of a larger, international event. We had a lot of fun thinking about synthetic biology and our project and the best way to share that in an inspirational and meaningful way.

Find our talk after the Regional Jamboree on the TEDx Youth Garza García website.

In accordance with TED’s mandate, we needed an idea worth spreading. We had a lot of ideas about our project, the iGEM competition and synthetic biology in general. The hard part was coming up with the right theme for our presentation; one that would resonate with the general public both within and outside Monterrey. One of the reasons we chose the project that we did is that it is something important to Monterrey and Mexico but that can also have implications around the globe – cancer research.

Beyond presenting the importance of getting involved in international university scientific competitions, we wanted to transmit to industry and government organizations, the importance of supporting synthetic biology university projects, which, if well supported, might define the next generation of innovations within the country.

High School Outreach

Our team also promoted the importance of synthetic biology in high school students interested in studying a science related major. Two different kinds of workshops were organized in order to show the students, basic concepts of synthetic biology and the importance of this new field in the development of future technology.

A wet lab workshop was organized for a group of 30 students from a local high school who came to the lab 4 sessions in which they learned the basics of synthetic biology, microbiology and molecular biology techniques such as mini plasmidic preparation and electrophoresis gel analysis. By the end of the workshop, the students were able to identify and grow their own skin bacteria and were also able to visualize and purify DNA.

Tec de Monterrey Santa Catarina Campus High School and Tec de Monterrey Cumbres Campus High School were visited to local high schools were also performed in order to present the project and the basic concepts of synthetic biology. We hope to make a difference in the lives of a few future biologists by introducing them to tools, techniques, and exciting applications from the cutting edge of synthetic biology.

Hi Tec Fest iGEM Presentation

Hi Tec Fest is the Tec de Monterrey University welcome event aimed to more than 2,000 freshmen students, its mission is to welcome the freshmen to college life at Monterrey Campus.

It also provides interaction with managers, teachers and strategic areas of the institution. It also seeks to encourage the love for his Alma Mater and engage in academic traditions and training co-curricular / integral life.

As part of the Hi Tec Fest itinerary, our team made a special presentation to show the project and to capture attention from more than 700 freshmen engineers students, the iGEM concept and the project desrciption was very well accepted and we did got a lot of new students interested in the competition. This activity will be crucial to promote the continuity of iGEM teams in our University the following years.