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Help UMD iGEM Save Oysters

Raised toward our $7,000 Goal
231 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on May 08, at 11:59 PM EDT
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Help UMD iGEM Save Oysters

One of the oyster farms we visited on our human practices efforts.

Who We Are

iGEM, which stands for International Genetically Engineered Machine, is an international competition consisting of over 250 teams which seeks to promote student research in the field of synthetic biology. Undergraduate-led teams assisted by faculty members are tasked with seeking potential solutions to real world problems by designing and building biological systems, such as biosensors and biosynthesis pathways. The standardized genetic constructs that each team produces are called BioBricks, which are open access and available from the iGEM Parts Database.

As UMaryland iGEM, we are a team of 15+ undergraduates, led by four faculty mentors. Our backgrounds range from biological sciences to chemical engineering, and we hope to build momentum off our successful first year as we look forward to this year's competition!

What We're Doing

Currently, we are focusing on issues inherent to Maryland. Our first project, which we began last year, is to design an E. coli biosensor for Perkinsus marinus, the oyster pathogen behind the disease Dermo. P. marinus is capable of infesting the Eastern oyster, leading to the oyster's decay and eventual death. Dermo disease is highly contagious, spreading rapidly throughout an oyster population. Due to rising pollution in the Chesapeake Bay, P. marinus has become a burgeoning issue, one that requires a multi-pronged solution.

We hope to be able to engineer a real-time, portable detection system for rising infection risks. By being able to detect Dermo infections in real-time, oyster farmers will know which oysters to quarantine as soon as possible, minimizing the spread of the outbreak.

As part of our human practices efforts, we plan on visiting local organizations interested in Chesapeake Bay health and oyster biology, including the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, local oyster farms, and the Department of Natural Resources. These visits are all part of our survey efforts as we measure local interest in our biosensor.

In addition to our first project, we are currently planning a second project in synthetic biology that hopes to improve current biosynthesis techniques. This project is currently in the planning stages by this year's iGEM team.

Why We Need Your Help

We hope to present our results to a worldwide audience at the International iGEM Jamboree, held annually in Boston, Massachusetts. However, we’ll need your support to get there! Currently, we are in need of support to fund our work in the laboratory, along with our trips out into the local community. We'll also need support to get as many of our members as possible to the Jamboree! Please consider donating and supporting our efforts to help the community through synthetic biology!

Thank You Very Much!

Click below to visit our wiki detailing our P. marinus biosensor project!


Gifts in support of the University of Maryland are accepted and managed by the University of Maryland College Park Foundation, Inc., an affiliated 501(c)(3) organization authorized by the Board of Regents.  Contributions to the University of Maryland are tax deductible as allowed by law.  Please see your tax advisor for details.

Choose a giving level


Science Supporter

Thanks for your donation! We appreciate your support!


DNA Designer

Thank you! With your donation, we can start DNA cloning! We'll make sure to recognize you on our Facebook and Twitter feeds!


RNA Architect

Thank you! With your donation, we'll be able to visit and survey the Maryland community! For your help, in addition to previous perks, we will recognize you as a sponsor on our wiki!


Protein Producer

Thank you! With your donation, we'll be able to run protein purification to test our BioBricks! In addition to previous perks, we'll see to it that you will be mentioned in our team video!


BioBrick Builder

Thank you! With your donation, we'll have enough to build a BioBrick construct! For backing us, in addition to previous perks, your name will appear on our backs, namely the backs of our t-shirts!


Genetic Genius

Thank you! With your donation, we'll have enough to produce two BioBricks! In addition to previous perks, we'll make sure to recognize your support as a sponsor on our poster and live presentation!


Student Sponsor

Thank you! This donation will fund one undergraduate researcher's attendance at the fall jamboree, allowing them to demonstrate their work at the international conference. In addition to all previous perks, you'll be the subject of a special video by UMaryland iGEM!

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