(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) A team of students from the Technion Israel Institute of Technology won a gold medal at the iGEM international synthetic biology competition, hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Jewish Business News reported Friday. This was the third consecutive gold medal for a Technion team.
The International Genetically Engineered Machine Foundation sponsors the annual competition, in which multidisciplinary teams work to build genetically-engineered systems using standard biological parts, called Biobricks. Competitors include undergraduate university students, as well as high school and graduate students.
Technion's team invented a "Flash Lab" - an innovative chip for fast, accurate and simple detection of various substances. The chip is based on chemotaxis, a natural biological process where bacteria responds to the presence of a specific substance by moving toward or away from it, creating clusters of visible bacteria, the report said.
The students based their Flash Lab on E. coli bacteria, loaded onto the chip, that reacts to the presence or absence of a particular substance, such as pollutants or heavy metals.