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2007 Virginia Genetically Engineered Machine (VGEM) Team

Welcome to the Virginia Genetically Engineered Machine (VGEM) Team's wiki! The VGEM Team is an undergraduate research group interested in synthetic biology and biological engineering, and will compete in MIT's 2007 international Genetically Engineered Machines competition (iGEM) in November. We'll be adding new information regularly, so be sure to check up on us soon. - George McArthur



This team was made possible by the generous support from the following groups at the University of Virginia:
The School of Engineering and Applied Science
The Virginia Engineering Foundation
The Office of the Vice President for Research
The Department of Chemical Engineering
The Department of Biomedical Engineering
The Department of Biology

The VGEM team would like to especially thank the following for in-kind support:

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Our research focuses on using photobiological interfaces for input and output of engineered biosystems. We are interested in using biophotonics for molecular system control (input and monitoring) and for basic quantum biology discovery. Viewing the cell as a computer, the genome as its OS and biobricks as individual software applications, it's only natural to seek out appropriate monitoring and input technologies. We view electromagnetic radiation (e.g., light) not only as an excellent monitoring tool (e.g., traditional fluorescence proteins) but also as an appropriate input device similar to a computer's keyboard and mouse.


We discussed relevant literature, brainstormed project ideas and planned for the summer during our weekly meetings throughout the spring semester. Currently, we've stocked our lab with materials and supplies, and will start handling the bacteria tomorrow (5 June 2007).


iGEM Links


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Our group is an interdisciplinary conglomeration that includes researchers from The School of Engineering and Applied Science, The College of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Medicine.

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email the VGEM team

Undergraduate Team

Graduate Mentor

  • Brianne Ray, Microbiology

Lab Specialist

  • Kay Christopher, Biology

Faculty Advisors

Financial Administrator

Additional Contact Information


Engineering is a great profession. There is the satisfaction of watching a figment of the imagination emerge through the aid of science to a plan on paper. Then it moves to realisation in stone or metal or energy. Then it brings homes to men or women. Then it elevates the standard of living and adds to the comforts of life. This is the engineer's high privilege.

- Herbert Hoover (1874-1964)

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Reviews and Perspectives


Current Research