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Team TJUSLS_China Awarded Gold Medal at iGEM 2021

 Campus

Team TJUSLS_China from the School of Life Sciences of Tianjin University (TJU) won the Gold Medal on November 14, 2021 in the International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition (iGEM) jamboree.

Team TJUSLS_China

Since 2015, Team TJUSLS_China from the School of Life Sciences has won 4 Gold medals, 1 Silver medal, 1 Bronze medal, 3 special awards and 9 nominations.

Team TJUSLS_China consists of undergraduates Yanjiao Lu, Shujun Yang, Guosheng Gao, Yuan Wang, Xinyi Zhang, and Xuyan Wang from the School of Life Sciences; undergraduates Yunran Feng and Jinglu Liu from the School of Pharmacy; undergraduates Jianyu Wang and Juncheng Yu from the School of Precision Instruments; undergraduates Yixuan Wang and Bo Li from the School of Architecture; undergraduates Zixi Zhao and Fanghui Wang from the Department of Intelligence and Computing. Professor Zefang Wang from the School of Life Sciences served as the Principal Investigator, Yunjie Xiao, a postdoctoral fellow in the School of Life Sciences, and a graduate student Yi Wei, and an undergraduate of the School of Precision Instruments Shuying Wu, also made important contributions to this year's project.

PETase is a newly discovered novel PET-degrading enzyme with the ability to degrade the highly crystallized PET. However, the heat-labile property seriously hinders its industrial applications. To overcome this limitation, the iGEM team of the School of Life Sciences used a structure-based rational design strategy to redesign PETase, and used theE. coliexpression system to optimize the expression of a variety of PETase mutants. The team successfully screened PETase mutants with significantly enhanced thermal stability. The research results of the project shed light on the industrial application of the large-scale biodegradation of high-crystallinity PET, and were highly praised by the competition judges and experts. In these years’ preparation, strong funding and experimental platform support was provided by the School's Academic Affairs Office and the School of Life Sciences, laying a solid foundation for the students to achieve good results.

Members of Team TJUSLS_China

The iGEM competition started in 2005 and was originally hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It is the top international technology competition in the field of synthetic biology, and well-known as the world championship in the field of synthetic biology. The competition involves scientific research of dry lab and wet lab, modeling, programming, design, human practices, academic writing, speech in English, etc. Every year, Gold, Silver, and Bronze as well as multiple special awards are selected based on the team promotion video, the team wiki, the project presentation video and the judging session. Over the years, many relevant research results of participating teams have been published in top international academic journals such as Science and Nature, which have extensive international influence.

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By: The School of Life Sciences

Editors: Qin Mian & Yang Fan