iGEM 2015: CUHK Genetic Engineering Team Wins Gold Again in iGEM Finals in Boston

6 Oct  2015

A genetic engineering team formed by 13 undergraduate students of science and engineering at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has recently won a gold medal at the International Genetic Engineered Machine (iGEM) 2015 Giant World Jamboree held in Boston, USA. This is the fourth time that a CUHK team has won gold in the annual premier synthetic biology competition worldwide among, this year, more than 280 student-led teams from around the world. The winning project designed by the CUHK team has extensive potential applications and may even help solve the recent lead-in-water problem in the city. 


The winning project of the CUHK team was named ‘Magnetosome Forming Azotobacter vinelandii. The students devised a synthetic biology system to generate magnetosome, a kind of biological magnetic particles with hundred times surface-to-volume ratio than the current nanoparticles, inside a soil bacterium called Azotobacter vinelandii under an intracellular anaerobic condition. This innovative system can absorb metals in contaminated waters and soils, thus making it useful to tackle marine pollution problem or the lead contamination problem affecting Hong Kong recently. Potentially, it can also be used to extract any protein or enzyme, and therefore may find its applications in, for instance, food and pharmaceutical industries. With nitrogenase added, the system can also be used to improve the efficiency of biological fuel cells. This project has been supported by the UGC Teaching Development Grant. 


Prof. Chan Ting-fung, one of the instructors of the team and associate professor of the School of Life Sciences, CUHK remarked, ‘The judging panel is especially delighted to see the CUHK team’s effort in making standard biobricks for magnetosome biosynthesis which has huge application potential, and their ingenious choice of using Azotobacter as the bacteria of choice, as the biogenesis of magnetosome requires an anaerobic condition, of which the bacterial cells can readily provide.’ 


For more information about the winning project, please click the link below:




About iGEM Competition  


iGEM is an annual premier synthetic biology competition worldwide for high school, undergraduate and postgraduate students.  It was established by the MIT in 2004 to foster students' learning in synthetic biology, promote collaboration among students and nurture biology talents.  Participating teams are required to specify, design, build, and test simple biological systems made from standard, interchangeable biological parts.  The accomplishments of these student teams often lead to important advances or provide solutions to tackle real-world problems in medicine, food and nutrition, energy, and the environment.  For more information, please visit http://www.igem.org.





由香港中文大學(中大)理學院及工程學院十三位本科生組成的基因工程隊伍在國際遺傳工程機器設計競賽(iGEM)的世界賽中再獲金獎。iGEM是一年一度備受學界重視的比賽,本年度共有 280隊來自世界各地的學生隊伍參賽,中大隊乃第四度在這個比賽中奪金,成績驕人。是次中大的獲獎項目具有廣泛的應用潛力,甚至可協助解決近日困擾港人的鉛水問題。 

中大隊伍今年的參賽項目名為「磁小體固氮菌」。學生們設計了一個生物合成系統,讓一種存在於泥土中的固氮細菌(名為Azotobacter vinelandii)在細胞內缺氧狀態下產生磁小體蛋白質。磁小體蛋白質是一種帶有磁性的生物粒子,其表面積對體積比例較一般納米粒子高出數百倍。此嶄新的系統可用於吸收水和泥土中的金屬,從而解決海洋污染,以及香港最近食水含鉛量超標的問題。長遠而言,此系統可用以分離及抽取任何的蛋白質和酵素,應用於食品及製藥等不同行業。此外,若在系統中加入氫酶,更可以提升微生物燃料電池的能源效益。此項目曾獲教資會教學發展基金的資助。 


請按以下連結瀏覽更多有關中大隊伍及其項目的資訊: http://2015.igem.org/Team:Hong_Kong-CUHK 





陳竟明教授(生命科學學院: 3943-4420)


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