Makerere iGEM 2018 – Uganda’s First iGEM Team Turns Waste Plastic into Fuel

Twist Bioscience is sponsoring the iGEM team representing Makerere University in Uganda, who are tackling the biodegradation of plastic.

The Makerere University iGEM team at their first team meeting. Left to right, top row, Ayoto Christine BBLT, Kyoyagala Sara BVM, Mukisa Pius BBLT, Ssemambo Ronald BBLT, Nalumenya David BBLT, Otim Geoffrey MSc (Instructor), and Semanda Paul BSc. Biotechnology. Left to right, bottom row, the team includes: Oketch Michael BVM, Mukabaliisa Patience BBLT, Matovu Wycliff BBLT, Wagaba David BVM, Tamale Henry BBLT, and Dr. Ann Kazibwe (CO-PI).

For many, iGEM is their first foray into the world of synthetic biology, providing expert training and kicking off their careers as young scientists. Each year the competition culminates in the four-day Giant Jamboree, a huge scientific celebration that sees more than 3,000 young synthetic biologists converge on Boston, Massachusetts. Here, teams present posters, scientific lectures and live demonstrations of their work, as they all vie to achieve medals for their efforts and win the coveted iGEM trophy.

“iGEM” stands for the international Genetically Engineered Machine. This annual, globe-spanning synthetic biology competition invites teams of university and high school level scientists to spend their summers designing, undertaking, and honing their synthetic biology research projects.

This year, Twist Bioscience is sponsoring the iGEM team representing Makerere University in Uganda, who are undertaking an ambitious project based around the biodegradation of plastic. We recently had the opportunity to speak to the team in more detail about their project, and their experiences so far at iGEM.

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Building on the achievements of the SBA 1.0 and 2.0 conferences held in 2021 and 2023, SynBio Africa is set to organize the SBA 3.0 International Synthetic Biology, AI, and Biosecurity Conference in Nairobi, Kenya from July 17 to 19, 2024.