Knight Campus student team travels to Paris for international biology competition

A team of UO undergraduates based in the Knight Campus with a new vision for concussion diagnosis is shipping off to Paris to compete at the iGEM 2022 Grand Jamboree — iGEM is short for International Genetically Engineered Machine. The annual, worldwide synthetic biology event provides a forum for undergraduate university students, as well as high school and graduate students to present their ideas for technology combining biology and engineering.

“I’m definitely feeling nervous and excited,” said Carmen Resnick, a rising senior biochemistry major and the team’s student leader. “To have this trip finally come together is really surreal and I’m excited to meet these hundreds of teams from around the world.”

The group, which is based in the lab of Knight Campus assistant professor Calin Plesa, receives mentorship and training from Anissa Benabbas, a graduate student in the Plesa Lab, and Knight Campus professor Parisa Hosseinzadeh. They represent UO’s first foray into iGEM. At 8:15 a.m. PDT on Wednesday, Oct. 26, they will present their idea for a concussion biosensor that has the potential to sample an athlete’s blood, saliva or sweat to reveal a possible brain injury.

Prior to competing, the UO iGEM Team will spend two days sightseeing in Paris. They plan to visit museums and historical neighborhoods and look forward to enjoying some Parisian café culture. The three-day competition runs through Friday, Oct. 28.

The Knight Campus provided funding to support travel for a core group of five individuals. The team was awarded an iGEM impact grant, which gives funding to particularly promising projects, and the UO Data Science Initiative and the Department of Biology also donated funds. The team has set up a DuckFunder page so members of the community can chip in.

To chart the UO iGEM Team’s travels, follow them on Twitter at @UOregon_iGEM

To donate to the team’s travel fund, visit their DuckFunder page