INTEGRA supports the next generation of synthetic biologists

INTEGRA Biosciences awarded 3 PIPETBOY acu 2 serological pipette controllers to the 2023 iGEM Competition team at Technische Universität Braunschweig (TU_BS) to aid their pioneering research into lithium therapy toxicity testing. The pipette controllers enhanced the team’s pipetting precision and streamlined the multiple liquid handling tasks involved in this exciting project, helping them to achieve their project goals.

The iGEM Competition is an annual synthetic biology event open to groups of high school, undergraduate and graduate students from all over the world, and is dedicated to advancing discoveries that will help to solve some of the problems currently facing the environment and human health. Lithium-based therapies are highly effective mood stabilizers that are commonly used to treat mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder. However, lithium can be toxic at higher concentrations, making regular monitoring of blood lithium level extremely important. Unfortunately, these tests must be performed by medical professionals in a healthcare environment, requiring frequent and inconvenient hospital visits and blood tests.

The TU_BS team’s Li+onSwitch project aimed to explore the possibility of creating a novel self-testing method that can be performed at home. INTEGRA supplied the lab with 3 PIPETBOY acu 2 serological pipette controllers in June 2023, as Daniel, a member of the 2023 iGEM team, explained: “A large part of our work included designing our own plasmid constructs and testing potential reporter systems, and we worked extensively with liquid cultures. We were very excited to receive the PIPETBOY controllers, and they quickly became essential daily tools in our lab, significantly speeding up our repetitive pipetting protocols. This huge cumulative time saving led to greater productivity, and freed us up to focus on other aspects of our research. The PIPETBOYs are also extremely precise instruments, so helped to improve the reproducibility and consistency of our many manual liquid handling tasks.”

The iGEM Grand Jamboree took place from November 2-5 in Paris, and the TU_BS team was awarded Best Diagnostics Project, Overgrad, as well as a gold medal. They were also ranked in the top 10 postgraduate teams, and were nominated for Best New Composite Part, Overgrad. These achievements are a testament to the group’s diligence over the preceding months.

Learn more about the Li+onSwitch project.


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