At A Glance

    This year, we have disseminated two global health problems: heart attacks and strokes, and their viable clinical solutions. Due to the intricate components of the present mechanisms and treatments of such clinical methods we have set forth a project which has an ample perspective and approach, together with our policy & practice activities.
    Here, you can take a look at the main components of our project design.

The Problem

  • Ischemia is the restriction of blood supply to tissues, generally caused by the blockage of a clot due to the reduction or inhibition of blood flow. This process results in the shortage of oxygen and nutrition vital for metabolism and survival of cells. Since oxygen is delivered to tissues only via the blood stream, incommensurate blood supply causes tissue cells to spurn. Particularly for the heart and brain, irreversible damage is parlously supposable to occur in as little as 3–4 minutes at body temperature.
  • Ischemia is said to be the major factor in many of the medical problems of today. The famous heart attack, which is culpable for most of the deaths worldwide, is, as a matter of fact, an ischemic condition. In addition to this, the loss of a specific region of the brain due to inadequate blood perfusion is associated with ischemia and is widely known as stroke.In fact, every year, about 1.5 million Americans have heart attacks resulting in 500,000 deaths. A heart attack occurs every 20 seconds, which is equivalent to loss of a life approximately every single minute.
  • As it can be expected, one treatment of ischemia is the extermination of the blockage. Nonetheless, such a removal has the likeliness of making the situation more radical. In the current day, it is possible to dissolve the elements of the clot with specific medication such as tissue adaption. However, the tissue adapted to hypoxic media may be poisoned from oxygen. The absence of oxygen and nutrients from the blood during the ischemic period creates a state in which the rejuvenation of circulation to its original state results in inflammation and oxidative damage due to the induction of oxidative stress instead of the restoration of normal function.
  • The state of oxidative damage may cause some unwilling reactions which have the aptitude to produce toxic chemicals called reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS are intermediate products of oxygenation which have an absence of one electron in their covalent bonds. This makes them ultimately unstable. With such instability, ROS can disrupt almost all cellular structures, including DNA, cell membranes and organelles. Due to such elements in the nature of ischemic conditions, the final solution should incorporate a solution for all negative outcomes caused by ischemia

Our Approach

  • Our project design aims to assess and resolve two distinct cases. If a more holistic approach is to be taken towards ischemia, the issue could be better combatted. For this reason, we intend to use our vessel cells as a route to act in time to prevent the consequences of ischemia and heal them. To do this, we have to sense hypoxic conditions to prevent or remove clot formation and oxidative stress factors.
  • Regarding the need of an efficient, cost effective and rapid treatment option, the approach to the issue was dissected into modules. Detection devices and activist proteins. Hypoxia will be detected in two levels; with a promoter device for detection in genomic level and a protein domain for protein level regulation. Also, the oxidant factors in the media will be sensed to empower sensor devices. These devices will then produce the activist proteins, which are clot dissolving agents, antioxidant enzymes and proteins. We have the prospect of issuing a novel approach to the problem which will take effect in a short time interval, and affect strongly to prevent the recurrence of the problem.

Future Aspects

  • Gene therapy and tissue engineering are two different, but promising therapies which relate to our project. We have deliberated the advantages, disadvantages and also the possible side effects, ethical or social issues of these therapies to determine which of these would be the most beneficial.
  • Furthermore, we have designed the real-life application of our project to address the needs of both the clinic and the patient in a multiperspective manner.
  • As a final remark, we aim to feature computer modelling data to predict the potential effects of our treatment in order to determine its applicability as preventive medication. We envision that our system will detect hypoxia before it has fatal effects and interfere to prohibit the occurrence of more austere conditions without causing any dismay in the target patient.


  • We successfully propose a promising, novel approach and system design to treat ischemia, a common and lethal public health issue.
  • We have created a system which aims to treat ischemia: the number one cause of deaths worldwide.
  • We successfully worked all of our seven parts in our engineered eukaryotic cells.
  • We have accomplished modeling our gene expression dynamics and have also come up with the unique idea of modelling our safety experiment which enables us to prove graphically that we are able to switch our system off in the presence of a simple antibiotic such as tetracycline.
  • We collaborated with the METU iGEM team and exchanged thoughts on how we can improve our modelling.
  • We will hold a special metaphor event called ‘Think By Heart’ during the Giant Jamboree where we discover the unknowns of our heart simply beginning from its etymology to the cardiac cycle and how it is bizarrely similar to us human beings in terms of its style of functioning and many more.Have created a system which aims to treat ischemia: the number one cause of deaths worldwide.

Policy & Practices

  • Apart from our project design, we also wanted to engender a better approach on ischemic conditions and diseases by working on human practice and social issues. This year, we preferred to conduct an inclusive perspective and activity to address every aspect of the issue as well as all the stakeholders who are connected with it. Therefore, we separated our P&P design into four columns; all of which present a respective process and interactive strategy.
  • First, we need to analyze how intense the problem is and how common these ischemic diseases are among people, specifically in the iGEM community. This module is the “Identification” module; which intends to identify the parameters of the problem, in order approach the problem accurately.
  • AAfterwards, our aim is to undergo some tasks to raise awareness and warn people who are at high risk from ischemic diseases such as heart attacks. We plan to present our “identification” data inquired from the public in an influential way. The data includes information such as the total calories consumed by individuals. This comprises our second column, “clarification”.
  • Thirdly, we need to be accurate and effective in influencing the stakeholders and improving public health. To do this, we chose the “specialization” step to consult experts, doctors, specialists and related stakeholders of sectors and describe what had have been done so far and inquire what could further be conveyed.
  • LLastly, all the acquired data and knowledge could be utilized to form a product. However, we must obstruct the possible consequences and side effects of this product. The public should also be informed to prevent any social reaction. Therefore, we have conducted extensive research and performed several brain-storming sessions to depict the applicability of the product, and this is named as the “application” step.


  • For collaboration, we invited Paris Bettencourt iGEM team to the International Turgut Ozal Medical Congress, which our university hosts. The congress has the highest number of attendants in between medical congress’ across the nation. During the congress, together with the Paris Bettencourt team, a workshop on synthetic biology was organized. The unlimited potential that synthetic biology bears was delved into.
  • Secondly, we invited METU Turkey iGEM team to our university for dinner. We presented our projects respectively and discussed some ideas regarding our projects. We also debated on how we can help each other and what we can do for collaboration purposes or P&P. METU Turkey iGEM team requested to use some of the parts present in our iGEM kit plates for their project, which we gladly accepted.