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Thank you for your interest in the 2015-16 Melbourne University iGEM Team!  We will be recruiting for the next iGEM team in semester 1 2015. To be notified by email of recruitment developments, please express your interest at

What is iGEM?

iGEM is a unique opportunity to get involved in an enterprising student research group and make a scientific impact.

iGEM is short for the International Genetically Engineering Machine competition. iGEM is an undergraduate science competition held each November in Boston. In the months leading up to iGEM, university teams use the latest tools from synthetic biology/biotechnology to create a novel single celled organism or “biological machine”.

Each year, students from around the globe form teams at their respective universities with the goal of building a biological system or tool, which they present at the iGEM global conference. Students in the past have designed bacteria that produce new types of drugs and biofuels, act as biosensors of toxic pollutants, and even serve  as biological computation platforms  (for examples of past projects, see

iGEM teams manage everything from the conception to the execution of the iGEM project, with the aid of faculty supervisors.

The benefits to participating in iGEM include:
-Get valuable scientific and leadership experience
-Develop a useful, novel biotechnology and gain experience in the latest in interdisciplinary biological research

-Make an impact
-Have fun!

What is involved and what is needed

We are searching for enthusiastic students with an interest in science.


As part of the iGEM team, you would help with the following tasks:

·         Research on the iGEM project ideas. The ideas for the iGEM project are student driven, and team members often need to answer specific research question to design new experiments or come up with new ideas. This will typically involve doing  searches of the literature using Google Scholar or other tools and reading scientific articles.

·         Help with developing experimental methods. The 2014 team has built up a library of protocols and experimental methods. However, the project for 2015 will likely require new methods. You will need to look up protocols in the literature and adapt them to the project requirements.

·         Wet lab work OR modelling/computation OR engineering design. By joining the iGEM team, you will have an opportunity to participate in the lab and learn many standard techniques in molecular biology. Alternatively, many iGEM teams make use of the skills of engineers, computer scientists, and other non-biological science disciplines.  For example, this may take the form of modeling a biological system using software like Matlab, designing a microfluidic device with biological applications or designing an electrical device which interfaces with a biological system. If you have an interest in interdisciplinary research between your field and biology, it is likely iGEM will be able to accommodate it.

·         The scope of iGEM also extends into non-traditional science areas, including biotechnology entrepreneurship, biotechnology ethics and the law, and science outreach, and so we are actively seeking students with business, law, design, and arts backgrounds. You could, for example, create a business plan for a iGEM-created company, examine bioethics within synthetic biology, or even explore the realm  of biologically-inspired art.


There are several traits needed on the iGEM team:

·         Research skills. IGEM is an exciting opportunity to undertake self-directed research in synthetic biology. We will therefore need students who are keenly interested and adept in research. To participate, you will need to have the capacity to quickly get up to speed in the field of biotechnology and to eventually excel in a lab with limited instruction.

·         We’re looking for team members from a range of backgrounds. iGEM is about cross-disciplinary research, so in addition to biological and biomedical science students, we welcome students from engineering (electrical, mechanical, chemical, software etc.), computer science, maths, physics, chemistry, and other physical sciences. Also, students from non-science backgrounds are very welcome to get in touch to explore how they can contribute to the team.

·         Participation would be most suited to students with a high level of academic maturity. Typically, this includes third year, honours, or Masters students, but students from all levels who can demonstrate an aptitude for research or leadership are welcome to apply.

A biological science background is helpful, but not required. Team members will need to use knowledge from second-level biology subjects. However, we have had team members without a biological science background who have excelled.


If you are interested in being a part of iGEM, please email Sean Lowe at for more information.

Further information about iGEM and updates about the recruitment process will also be made available at

Further information

Learn more about iGEM in general at:

Learn about this year’s team by clicking on the links above.

Also browse the previous Melbourne Uni iGEM team at: