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iGEM information sessions are Tuesday 11/29 7:30 PM @ 56-614 and Thursday 12/1 7:30 PM @ 56-614

Applications are due on Friday, December 16. For application instructions, see below.

What is iGEM?

iGEM: Program cells with DNA!

  •  Are you a biologist looking for a new way to think about bioengineering?
  •  Are you an engineer to wants to explore programming cells like you program a computer?
  •  Are you a science communicator who's passionate about bringing cutting-edge science to the public?
  •  Are you a policy wonk who's interested in the intersection of genetically modified organisms and society?

Past MIT iGEM teams have done really cool things. Go check out their websites!

  • 2013 - Cell-to-cell communication using virus-like particles called exosomes.
  • 2014 - Alzheimers disease diagnostics and therapy
  • 2015 - Consolidated bioprocessing using two different bacteria to make biofuels
  • 2016 - A molecular diagnostic for endometriosis

iGEM is the most authentic research experience you can get without going to graduate school.

  •  Choose your own project.  Don't have it handed to you by a graduate student who needs another pair of hands.
  •  Design your own experiments. Goodbye, cookbook labs.
  •  Execute them in a cutting-edge research lab. From laser-driven microscopes to liquid-handling robots, we have all the toys. And we're willing to share!
  •  Analyze your own results. The "a-hah!" moment from seeing something nobody else has ever seen? It's the best high ever.
  •  Communicate them with the world. The iGEM Jamboree is the biggest synthetic biology conference of the year, and everybody is there.

MIT iGEM is a committment.

  •  IAP: Get your feet wet in synthetic biology, and choose a project!
    •  We'll learn about synthetic biology by looking at previous successful projects, then start brainstorming for the 2017 MIT iGEM project.
    •  Preliminary schedule: Thurs, Jan 13 --> Tues, Jan 31
    •  Preliminary time: 7 PM - 9 PM (depends on team members' schedules.)
  • Spring UROP (for credit): Acquire lab skills as you start working on your project!
    • 2-3 hours, twice a week (at least one on the weekends)
    • Skills include gene circuit design, DNA assembly, mammalian tissue culture, instrumentation
    • New this year: we may integrate iGEM and 20.129 / 6.129. If either of those are on your radar, let us know. You do not have to be taking 20.129 to join the iGEM team!
  • Summer UROP (for pay!): Do most of the work on your project!
    • Full-time (40 hrs/wk) for 10-12 weeks, tracking the MIT summer term.
  • Sept -- Oct: Finishing touches, get ready for the Jamboree
    • The Jamboree is November 3 - 6 in Boston.
    • The team presents a public website, a poster and a 20-minute talk
    • Getting them ready takes time!  We'll work with the BE Communications Lab to help get you ready.
  • Note: if you are interested but have a conflict with one of these, contact us and we'll work something out

Key Dates

  • Friday, 16 December 2017 -- applications for iGEM are DUE to igem-2017-applications at mit dot edu
  • Friday, 23 December 2017 -- application decisions are made.
  • Thursday, 13 January 2017 -- Tuesday, 31 January 2017 -- IAP. Meet for a few hours in the evening each day (provisionally 7-9 PM).
  • 7 February 2017 -- 18 May 2016 -- Spring semester. Meet 2x/wk, ~2-3 hrs/ea.
  • Monday, 12 June 2017 -- The first day of summer iGEM.
  • Friday, 18 August 2017 -- The last day of summer iGEM. (You don't have to go home if you don't want to....)
  • Thurs 3 November 2017 -- Monday 6 November 2017 -- iGEM International Jamboree. Don't miss it. Trust me.

How to Apply

Please send the following to igem-2017-applications at mit dot edu by Friday December 16th.

  • Your resume, which should include relevant coursework and research experience
  • A list of any other commitments you've made for IAP and the summer
  • ~250 works describing why you're generally interested in synthetic biology and iGEM
  • ~250 words describing a project you think would be appropriate and exciting for iGEM. You can look at previous iGEM projects for inspiration and to get a sense of the typical scope. Here's a link to the 2016 teams that won awards.
  • ~100 words on some other (non-science) skills you can contribute to the team. Do you do graphic design? Are you an organizational whiz? An epic fundraiser? An extraordinary webmaster?

If possible, please send your application as a single PDF (or two, if your resume is separate).

Frequently Asked Questions

I am going to France over IAP; can I still participate?

Yes! We understand that there are many opportunities available to an undergraduate at MIT, and we want you to take advantage of as many of them as you can fit in. We need to know up-front, and we'd like to try to keep you looped in as much as possible, especially as we settle on a project for the year.

I'm doing an internship at Novartis this summer. Can I still participate?

Unfortunately, past experience has shown that people who try to split their time in the summer between iGEM and other things do a poor job at both of them. We're happy to work around other committments in IAP, spring and fall semesters; but when you're here over the summer (and we're paying you!), we want you focused on iGEM.

I'm not a biologist (Course 7) or biological engineer (Course 20). Can I still participate?

Yes! We'll teach you everything you need to know about designing systems, manipulating DNA, putting your gene circuits in cells and testing them out. If you're not a big fan of lab work, we want you too -- computer models, policy analysis, public outreach -- it's not all just pipetting.

I'm have a wedding in July I'd like to attend. Can I still participate?

Yes! We're not planning on chaining you to the lab bench.

I'm not an MIT student, can I still participate?

Yes! Unfortunately, we can't pay you a stipend over the summer; but past teams have included exceptional highschool students, seniors the summer after they graduate, and students from other programs such as Amgen Scholars and NSF UROPs.

I have another question that's not answered here.

Shoot us an email at igem-2017-applications at mit dot edu and we'll get you sorted.