The goal of 2014 Pitt iGEM team was to find a better treatment of acne using skin bacteria. Acne is a common skin condition, yet current treatments are ineffective and/or harmful. Using genes from the iGEM Registry of Parts, we pioneered a new treatment for acne opening the door for future skin probiotics.

Project Background

In the same way the Human Genome Project provides a wealth of knowledge on how our cells function, the Human Microbiome Project is uncovering how our cells thrive within a vast microbial community. Research shows how healthy bacteria contribute to our well-being by protecting our bodies against more pathogenic bacteria.

Propionibacterium acnes is one of these common, healthy microbes that thrives in the sebum (oil) secreted by the skin of the face, chest, and back. Studies have associated certain strains of P. acnes with acne vulgaris, but the link is unclear. Unfortunately, research on P. acnes is scarce because current technologies for genetic engineering do not work on P. acnes. In addition to an array of skin probiotics, the 2014 Pitt iGEM Team has developed a genetic engineering chassis to aid further study of P. acnes.


Competition spurs genetics research from Pitt, CMU students
Crowdfunding raises $1,900 for U. Pitt Research Team

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