The Golden Chip

A Technion student team wins the gold medal in the iGEM International Biology competition. The team won the gold medal for developing an innovative chip for the identification of substances using biological means.

A team of students from Technion-Israel Institute of Technology has won the gold medal in the iGEM international competition held at MIT. This is the third consecutive year that a Technion team has won the gold medal in this competition.

iGEM is an international synthetic biology competition, which aims to develop products based on the creation of new biological systems and their operation in living cells.  Contestants must submit a research proposal, carry out an independent study, raise the necessary funding and present their results in the finals.

The Technion team’s product that won the gold medal is Flash Lab – an innovative chip for fast, accurate and simple detection of various substances.  The chip is based on chemotaxis – a natural biological process in which bacteria respond to the presence of a specific substance by swiftly moving toward it or away from it, creating clusters of visible bacteria.

Flash Lab is based on the collective movement of E. coli bacteria, located inside the chip, in response to their exposure to a particular substance. The Flash Lab platform is simple to use: The user puts the chip in the substance that he wants to test and receives an immediate indication of the presence or absence of a particular substance such as: hormones, pollutants, heavy metals, etc. This chip could also serve as a forensics kit.

The participating teams are also evaluated on their contribution to the advancement of science among the general public. In this context, Technion team members initiated various activities such as scientific lectures at pubs and bars and volunteered to participate in science activities for pre-school and kindergarten children in Kiryat Haim. These activities were initiated by Technion Nobel Laureate Prof. Dan Shechtman.

The Technion team of 13 undergraduate students from different faculties included: Inbal Adir, Shilo Ohayon, Ofek Elul, , Asif Gil, Naor Granik, Tzila Davidov, Shani Weiner, Sharbel Zahran, Bar Mayo, Tal Fried, Shirane Tsedef, Nofar Shasha and Shiran Sarig. Prof. Roee Amit is the Head of the team, and the advisors include Noa Katz, Michal Brunwasser-Meirom, Alex Ereskovsky and Beate Kaufmann.

The team received the Gold Medal in the Foundational Advance track, after validating the development and demonstrating the proof of the product’s scientific, practical and ethical feasibility.

Details about the team (in English) on the global iGEM website:

The Technion team for the iGEM International Biology competition

Mentoring the first Pakistani team in the history of the competition

Asif Gil presenting the project to students from other teams