Half of iGEM Uppsala 2017 team

iGEM Giant Jamboree 2017

Remember that summer project I was telling you about? The competition ends with a Giant Jamboree, where all the teams around the world get the chance to gather and present their project. For this purpose, I joined my team to represent the Uppsala University iGEM team 2017.

Around 300 teams worldwide and hundreds of judges came together in Hynes Convention Center for three days full of presentations and mingling. Many biotech companies present in the plenary hall, even the FBI. I think that they are trying to embrace synthetic biology as it seems to be the future. Fear not, technology is only as dangerous as one’s purpose/application. This year, the Uppsala team is doing a project to characterize the pathway to crocin. Oh, in case you’re wondering, iGEM stands for International Genetically Engineered Machine. Don’t be confused, this global competition is about synthetic biology.

I would say that one could have a hard time understanding iGEM competition until one experienced it. Especially at the Giant Jamboree where I could finally grasp the oh-so-many different categories and tracks to compete on. The Uppsala team this year competed on Manufacturing track (there are many tracks such as environment, diagnostic, prevention, and so on). Other than these tracks, each team can also compete on categories (bronze, silver, gold)  and other awards such as the best poster, best wiki, best presentation, and so on. I know, I know…it is overwhelming but this news that I’m about to tell you won’t make you confused because…

The iGEM Uppsala 2017 team got the gold medal and won the Best Manufacturing Project!


I wish the whole team could be there and the group hug would be bigger then it wouldn’t fit the frame. Nevertheless, I have such an amazing time working on this project with everyone on the team. A shoutout to the graphic design team that survived hours of working on countless shades of gray, Adrianna and Hugo. Another thing that is more than amazing is the fact on how 12 people lived under one roof with only a bathroom for almost a week.

Behind the scene of iGEM Uppsala

Behind the scene of iGEM Uppsala Giant Jamboree | Source: Sania Saraswati

To think about it, the whole iGEM experience was intense but definitely one that I would not miss. Despite not succeeding in gaining an advanced knowledge of synthetic biology, at least now I know what PCR machine is for. I’m kidding, there are many things that I learned while being the only non-biologist in the room so I’m prepared to work on interdisciplinary teams in the future. Enjoy this documentation video I made for the Giant Jamboree!

Currently, the project manager position for 2018 iGEM Uppsala team is open. If you’re interested to have an unforgettable experience, send an email to info(at)igemuppsala(dot)se before December 1st. This is one of the reasons why studying in Uppsala is the best decision ever. Hope to see you here in Uppsala!

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From Indonesia to Sweden. From a product designer to a master student in Sustainable Development at Uppsala University and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. Do you have questions about studying in Sweden? Reach me through e-mail at sania.studyinsweden(at)gmail.com
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