International Genetically Engineered Machine

Tackling Global Challenges

iGEM challenges teams to solve a problem using synthetic biology. Any problem!

At iGEM, teams choose their own project. Teams are not given specific problems to solve, instead they are given the space to use synthetic biology to tackle problems however they see fit. As a result, iGEM has become a natural test-bed for new ideas and approaches in synthetic biology across industries.

Competition Tracks

iGEM categorizes subject areas as tracks. Here are some examples of teams addressing global challenges across tracks


INSA-Lyon 2016

Gotta Detect 'Em All: a multi-STI sensor based on aptamers

Aim: provide an all-in-one detection device for diagnosis of HIV and Hepatitis B


Nanjing 2016


Aim: harness solar energy to drive whole-cell hydrogen production in air conditioners


Peking 2016

Uranium Reaper

Aim: address uranium pollution by constructing a novel biological material that absorbs the radioactive hazard

Food and Nutrition

Sydney Australia 2016


Aim: create a biosensor sticker to test ripeness of fruit by detecting ethylene levels

Foundational Advance

Imperial College 2016

Ecolibrium - developing a framework for engineering co-cultures

Aim: engineer multi-cellular systems to ensured stable co-existence of different cell types in co-culture

Information Processing

EPFL 2016


Aim: regulate gene transcription by developing an innovative CRISPR-DCas9 system in yeast


LMU-TUM_Munich 2016

biotINK - rethINK tissue printing

Aim: rethINK tissue printing by creating a novel bio-ink for 3-D multi-cellular structures

New Application

TU Delft 2016

The new age of optics: Creating biological lenses and lasers to improve imaging techniques

Aim: make biological micro lenses and lasers



MSCavalry: MSCs of Next Generation

Aim: improve the efficiency of using mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to treat inflammatory disease


UESTC-Software 2018


Aim: Integrate 8 traditional biological research databases


StanfordBrownSpelman 2014

Biosynthetic Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

Aim: make a quad-copter out of biomaterials

High School


Biosensor for Toxin in Chinese Herb Medicine

Aim: Create a series of cheap, user-friendly E. coli biosensor to detect certain poison in the Chinese herbal medicine

See More Project Examples

Check out iGEM team solutions to local and global problems, safeguarding efforts, public outreach and more here.

Want to learn more?

Learn about iGEM programs, projects and work beyond the competition here.