Our Brooklyn BlueBloods iGEM team members
are a group of diverse students from local inner-city high schools and colleges who come from groups traditionally underrepresented
in the scientific community.
The iGEM competition
is a unique experience that offers students with the opportunity to conduct cutting-edge biotechnology research that may have important bio-medicinal applications. Such research is usually beyond the means of city high schools and colleges, and for most of our students this is the first opportunity they will have had to lead their own research project
in a professional laboratory. Biotech Without Borders,
a community biolab, is hosting our team.
Every year, the iGEM competition culminates with a “Jamboree.” This 4-day event at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston provides students who have worked year-round on their projects the chance to present their research in a collaborative space, compete against other teams, make professional contacts with the members of over 300 teams from 80 countries, and have their work assessed by a team of experts in synthetic biology. Please help us get there!
As you can imagine, such endeavors are extremely costly. Any donation is greatly appreciated and will be used to cover the cost of lab supplies; travel, food and lodging, and other project expenses. All gifts are tax deductible.
Without you, we will not be able to finish our project and present at the iGEM Jamboree. We rely solely on public donations in order to carry out our research. Other than a corporate donation that covered the initial cost of registration, our team has no other funding. We must ask for the support of generous people like you to help us finish our project and participate in the 2018 Jamboree. About Our Project
Our 2018 iGEM project focuses on one the most ancient of Earth’s inhabitants- the Atlantic Horseshoe Crab (Limulus polyphemus). Over the years, the Atlantic horseshoe crab population has decreased dramatically due to overharvesting, as their blood provides an invaluable resource for all pharmaceutical companies. Native to the East Coast , the blood of this 350 million-year-old species contains proteins that detect endotoxins from gram negative bacteria.
All modern injectable medicines are required by the FDA to be tested for endotoxins and other harmful substances using an extract of the horseshoe crab’s blood, called Limulus Amebocyte Lysate (LAL). To prepare LAL, companies draw about one-third of an individual crab’s blood and release them back into the wild. Recent data show that harvesting has contributed to an increase in the mortality rate of the species by as much as 30%, which not only poses a threat to their existence but also disrupts the ecological balance of the coast, affecting other species as well.
Our team hopes to develop a substitute for the LAL test that does not depend on using horseshoe crabs, ideally preventing further harm to the population and restoring its size to pre-LAL test levels. We plan to recreate the test in yeast cells, providing an environmentally friendly and cheaper alternative that is more accessible even to facilities located in economically disadvantaged communities.
Our mentors are Dr. Ellen Jorgensen
, President & Founder of Biotech Without Borders
(a nonprofit community lab in the heart of downtown Brooklyn, NY), and Steve Oszust, a 20-year science educator in NYC public high schools and a MfA award recipient.
Thank you for actively supporting science education. Thank you for supporting the next generation of scientists and medical professionals. And thank you for ensuring the survival of the Atlantic Horseshoe Crab.