University of westminster iGEMteam

I am writing to you on behalf of the Westminster iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) team in the hope of gaining your sponsorship for this year's’ competition. Every summer, the iGEM foundation organises a Synthetic Biology competition for university undergraduates. The competition encourages undergraduates to design new biological systems to solve world problems, either by constructing their own genetic parts or improving already existing parts in the iGEM Registry. At the end of the summer, the teams go to the world championships where the winners are announced.

The competition also involves a human practices aspect that encourages competitors to go out and educate the general public about their project and Synthetic Biology in general; serving as a means to publicise the project and synthetic Biology. We have already scheduled talks in neighbouring colleges and societies in order to boost support and hopefully inspire younger generations to pursue a career in science.

Our projects aims to synthesise levulinic acid (LA) by genetically modifying E. coli.
This compound is a precursor to biofuels, polymers, synthetic rubber, plastics, food and cosmetics additive, as well as pharmaceuticals applications. Thus, there is a high demand for this versatile intermediate due to the range of applications. Nevertheless, LA is produced in an expensive chemical based non-sustainable manner with a low yield. Our goal is to synthesise it in an eco-friendly and cheap way and focus on the biofuel applications as the world is urgently seeking fossil fuels energy alternatives.

This project not only touches upon the here and now but we hope will be a source of inspiration for future teams, and will be a positive contribution to research in renewable energy and environmental issues overall.

We would be very grateful if you would sponsor our team’s bid to compete at the world championship at Boston in October 2016. Our needs include reagents and enzymes for PCR and various cell cultures; flight tickets to and from the championships, accommodation at the venue of the championship, modelling software, airtime on radio and TV to broadcast our project. Your contributions can be in either cash or material form. In exchange for your contributions, your company’s name and logo will be included in all presentations, websites, videos, t-shirts, posters and publications we produce, and you will be duly acknowledged.



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