Meet Slavena! Application Scientist and iGEM Competition judge
- Posted: 18/11/21
Slavena joined Arrayjet in 2021. She took time out of her busy day in the Advance™ Lab to talk about her experience judging the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Competition.
So, Slavena – what exactly is the iGEM competition?
“iGEM brings together students dedicated to advancing synthetic biology. There are around 350 teams worldwide, ranging from high school students to post-grads. They come together yearly to present projects they’ve been working on over summer.”
How did you get started as a judge?
“I was an iGEM contestant in 2018! Naturally, I enjoy following the competition and hope to judge it again next year.”
What criteria you were judging on?
“Competitors are expected to collaborate and design the entire project. This includes not only lab working, but also communicating science, creating a website, making a business plan, and contacting potential stakeholders to obtain sponsorship.”
Which teams were you most impressed by?
“Two groups stood out for me.
GO_Paris-Saclay focused on endometriosis and designed a diagnostic device that would enable doctors to test patients’ blood for circulating microRNA. The test would be quick and inexpensive – and far less invasive than laparoscopy. They thought of everything – even designing their website to be inclusive for people with disabilities and LGBTQIA+ friendly.
LINKS China were a high school team who share concerns about the environmental impact of traditional animal leather, and plastic faux leather. They came together and designed a synthetic leather made using kombucha tea and spider silk!”
Do you know who won the competition?
“Yes – the post-grad winners were Marburg who worked on plant SynBio. Undergrad winners were Toulouse INSA-UPS who manufacture synthetic fragrances. But best of all, LINKS China won the High School grand prize for their leather innovation!”