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What is iGEM?

iGEM is an international competition in which undergraduate students engineer cells to produce unique products or gain novel properties. Students at the University of Nevada, Reno have been participating in International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition for over four years.
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2009: Synthesis of cinnamaldehyde (a major component of cinnamon) as a natural pesticide. Bronze medal winners.
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2010: Design of a non-toxic fluorescent tag that allows plants to “glow” under drought or temperature stress. Silver medal winners.
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2011: Production of photosynthetic cells that “feed” biofuel producing bacteria. Gold medal winners.
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2012: Engineering of proteins designed to bind vitamins to white rice. Gold medal winners and an invitation to the International Jamboree at MIT where their project was very well received by many teams and scientists.
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2013: Nevada iGEM is currently designing a suite of new proteins to combat bacterial diseases in plants and humans.

What do students gain from iGEM?
The iGEM experience allows students take charge of their own research destiny. Undergraduates must learn very quickly how to run a functioning research lab. They propose their own projects and work all summer to complete their experiments. The more experienced students must train new students in laboratory procedures and protocols. The team also talks with experts in the field to sort out scientific problems and work through ethical and environmental concerns.

In the fall, students present a poster and talk to professional scientists and engineers at regional iGEM jamborees. Medals are awarded based on accomplishments, and a few teams are chosen to attend the International iGEM final competition where they compete with teams from Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Team work, good planning, and a little luck help to shape the final project, but regardless of the competition outcome, the students who participate in iGEM have a college experience they will never forget.

Why we need your help
Fundraising is an essential part of running a research lab. Without funding to buy disposable supplies, the research cannot move forward. The College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources (CABNR) has donated start-up funds to begin research in May. After this point, the students are expected to raise money on their own to keep the research going through October. No lab fees are ever charged to students.

Another major expense is travel to the iGEM jamboree. In the past, travel has been covered by the National Institute of Health (NIH) INBRE grant and the Department of Biochemistry. However, with budget cuts to state and federal agencies, the money for iGEM travel is becoming limited. With your help, the Nevada iGEM will be able to take all the team members to the national jamboree in November 2013.

Supporting iGEM Means Supporting an End to Polio
Nevada iGEM team is committed to fighting disease on multiple fronts. Although we are researching potential treatments for bacterial diseases, we also want to do our part to help reach the very attainable goal of eradicating polio throughout the world. 10% of the proceeds from this campaign will be donated to Rotory Club International to help support this 25 year battle.*

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*If you would like to donate 100% of your gift to iGEM, please state this in the comments section of the donation site.