SUSTech students win gold medal in 2023 iGEM competition
Adrian Cremin | 11/12/2023

On November 5, the Grand Jamboree of the 2023 International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition concluded at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles, France.

The Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) team participating in the competition, SUSTech-MED, won the Gold Medal for its project “Engineered Pseudomonas aeruginosa filamentous phages for biofilm-targeted therapy”.

The idea of SUSTech-MED’s project originated from Pseudomonas aeruginosa. They placed their confidence in mild phage therapy, which is less damaging to bacteria, reduces the risk of endotoxin release, and is less likely to trigger bacterial resistance. To achieve this, the team conducted experiments and modeling to verify.

In the experiment, they edited the mild phage through homologous recombination and verified gene expression and corresponding editing effects. In modeling, they predicted the impact of engineered phages on bacterial growth and toxicity through flux balance analysis (FBA) and quorum sensing dynamic modeling.

The SUSTech-MED team is led by Xiangyi LIN, Lantian LIN, and Shuoxin LIU from the School of Medicine with the major of Clinical Medicine, and the team is comprised of 19 members, including medical students, as well as students from other departments, including Biological Sciences, the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, and the Department of Mathematics.

The team members worked tirelessly on the project’s design, experiment, modeling, and other aspects. Under the guidance of Liang YANG, Professor of the School of Medicine, the team successfully completed the project design and experimental work.

Founded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2003, iGEM is a top international science and technology competition for college students in the field of synthetic biology. It is also a cross-disciplinary cooperation in mathematics, computers, statistics, and other fields.

In 2023, a total of 404 teams from 45 countries and regions participated in the competition.