IITB Central Library 2.0 Service

IIT-M team wins gold at MIT event

Posted on: November 15, 2010

By Times of India
CHENNAI: For five Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) students, an international competition has helped broaden their perspective on engineering, convince them that lab work can be fun and see firsthand the recognition that come from good work.

Fresh from winning a gold medal in the ‘Food or Energy’ track at ‘iGEM – 2010’ (International Genetically Engineered Machine), a competition conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the team members are busy with their course work.

”We spent the entire summer conceiving the idea for the project. While there were others on campus who did the preparatory work, the real experiments with DNA started mid-August. We worked on it throughout; so much so that when we landed in the US, we didn’t feel jet lagged because we had gotten used to working on their time,” said fourth year Biotech student Harsh Nagpal.

The synthetic biology competition, which expects students to design components that can be used to build biological systems and operate them in living cells, has grown in scope and difficulty since it began in 2003.

In its project, the IIT-M team aimed at engineering pro-biotic lactic acid bacteria, used to make yogurt and buttermilk, to produce Monellin, a sweetening protein as well. If carried out, it could lead to production of dairy products which are low in polysaccharide-based sweeteners, thereby radically reducing their calorific content.

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