UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering


UCL Biochemical Engineering iGEM team planning outreach project

28 June 2016

The iGEM team are keen to carry out some innovative outreach around the subject of regenerative medicine and healthy ageing with primary and secondary school pupils and would very much appreciate your help. Do you know of any in youth groups, community projects or summer schools in London that they could potentially join up with to organise some workshops or develop some games and exercises? If so can you please email Amandeep directly at  amandeep.varia.14@ucl.ac.uk

Tell us something about yourselves

My name is Amandeep (left in pic) and I am currently in my second year of a Biochemical Engineering degree. I have experience working with the younger generation as a UCL STEM ambassador and I’m really excited to start to interact with the local community about our project. I also work as a mentor for younger students studying STEM subjects as well as tutoring students on GCSE physics.

I am Abbie (2nd from left in pic), a soon to be final year student at UCL. I study biochemistry and frequently help out with outreach events at the university in my role as a UCL student ambassador which are aimed at students aged 11-18. I also have experience teaching science at the Royal Institution family fun days as well as their ‘lates’ events so am well equipped to work with students within a large age range and interest in science.

My name’s Dale (2nd from right in pic), and I’m a second year Biochemical Engineering student. By participating in iGEM, I hope to gain a deeper understanding of synthetic biology. The success of our project relies of gaining the public’s opinion on healthy aging and using this to shape our project to tailor their needs.

My name is Michelle Ammann (right in pic) and I am in my second year of a Bioprocessing degree (with business management) within the department of Biochemical Engineering. I am passionate about our project on ageing as this topic concerns pretty much everyone and is becoming increasingly important with our overall ageing population. I have experience with coaching a sports team, with children between the ages of 12-16, and am looking forward to bringing synthetic biology closer to the public.

What is iGEM?

iGEM is an international synthetic biology competition. The competition, which over 300 teams enter, is a world championship for university students who are passionate about synthetic biology and molecular biotechnology.  UCL has an impressive track record of success in the past having won numerous gold medals as well as the Best Supporting Entrepreneurship award, Best Supporting Art and Design, Best Policy and Practice Advance and the Best Supporting Software.

Tell us about what you’re trying to do.

The 2016 UCL iGEM team are hoping to explore how we can use synthetic biology to promote healthy ageing, not necessary increasing length of life, but increasing the healthy human lifespan. Our idea will not only include aspects of increasing the healthy lifespan, but will also include using synthetic biology to treat some of the symptoms of ageing. Currently, we are looking into developing bacterial fillers to restore healthy teeth (a problem with the ageing population), building novel technologies to detect sexually transmitted diseases and many more developing ideas. Ageing themed iGEM project has never been explored before on iGEM and we are really excited to build new systems that solve the issues of the ageing population.

Why are you hoping to achieve?

An integral part of a successful project involves interacting with local communities. We aim to promote synthetic biology itself by organising workshops that inspire the next generation about synthetic biology and how we can use it to promote healthy ageing. Our project centres of gaining an understanding of people’s general views of aging using their opinions to shape our project.