2018 Winner: Bugs without Borders

Project Information
Bugs without Borders
Engineering
BME 188A/B
Much of the world struggles with inadequate access to essential medicines and nutrition due to high pharmaceutical prices and unreliable distribution. Our solution is to decentralize production of these resources by engineering the edible bacteria, Arthrospira platensis, commonly known as Spirulina, to produce essential medicines and supplements sustainably, photosynthetically, and on-site at healthcare facilities. Due to insufficient research into the genetics of A. platensis, we undertook two separate engineering endeavors in the metabolically similar Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942 to produce acetaminophen and human usable vitamin B12. As a proof of concept for eventual genetic modification in A. platensis, we sought to insert the genes for acetaminophen production, 4ABH and nhoA, and those for B12 production, ssuE and bluB, into PCC 7942. Within the iGEM time frame, only ssuE was successfully inserted. To aid eventual transformation of these genes into A. Platensis, we also developed a method to create a pure strain of A. platensis UTEX 2340 for whole genome sequencing.
Students
  • Pratibha Jagannatha (Crown)
  • Thuy-Khanh Tran-Dao (Crown)
  • Tyler Dylan Myers (Eight)
  • Alexander Bryant Pearce (Kresge)
  • Brittney Dalleen Wick (Stevenson)
  • Casidee Frances McDonough (Eight)
  • Daniel Martin Schmelter (Kresge)
  • Evan A Pepper-Tunick (Stevenson)
  • Jethro Mitchell Marasigan (Ten)
  • Marissa Victoria Taub (Ten)
  • Mark Christian Lund (Eight)
  • Mckenna R Hicks (Stevenson)
  • Sara Medor (Stevenson)
  • Thomas Miranda Sousa (Ten)
Mentors