November 11, 2019 - NYU Abu Dhabi students successfully showcased Volatect at the annual iGEM Giant Jamboree, the synthetic biology industry’s largest innovation event hosted by the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Foundation. Their project received a silver medal and nomination for best diagnostics device. The Giant Jamboree is the culminating event of iGEM’s annual, worldwide, synthetic biology competition for students to use genetic engineering to solve local problems all around the world.
The students' idea was to develop a device that could be installed in airports to quickly and effectively test for pathogens in travelers who are entering a country on a permanent residency visa. They wanted to develop an immediate test that could be carried out at the airport, within a very short period of time, to eliminate the need for lengthy medical testing.
The project is interdisciplinary, involving students from science, engineering, economics, and arts and humanities; and there is also an outreach component. In connection with the iGEM competition, NYUAD invited high school students to attend a one-day iGEM workshop on campus earlier this semester to discuss the project.
Each year, iGEM brings together more than 6,000 participants from across the globe to explore and create unique applications of synthetic biology with the mission to bring positive contributions to their communities and society at large. Beyond the technology, participants are evaluated on teamwork, responsibility, entrepreneurship, sharing, and safety.
Our NYUAD iGEM team has been awarded medals and nominated for top awards on a yearly basis, and that is a remarkable achievement for our students. These achievements are a great representation of our institution’s mission to encourage our students to integrate multidisciplinary skills as well as our student’s abilities in utilizing these skills to achieve these highly-recognized awards.
Felicia Lankai Annan-Mills
Jimoh Yusuf Omotayo
Romeno Wenogk Fernando