The Ontario Genetically Engineered Machine Network (OGEM)

About OGEM:

OGEMSince the launch of iGEM teams in the province of Ontario, the spirit of innovation has been steadily growing in the field of Synthetic Biology at four of the province’s major universities. Individual university teams have advanced to the iGEM World Championship at MIT numerous times.
In order to utilize the resources and the expertise that each of the universities have, as well as create acoordinated and strong impact in the province of Ontario, OGEM has been created to facilitate the clash of ideas and innovation amongst the best and the most dedicated students of Ontario. The main goals of the Ontario iGEM Organization are:

  1. Organize and create a medium for Ontario iGEMteams to share, critique, and create collaboration points amongst each other in order to achieve higher performance levels at the iGEM competition.
  2. Build and propagate an interest in Synthetic Biology in the province of Ontario at the university level.
  3. Network and promote OGEM to a wider audience.

About the teams:

Ottawa
The University of Ottawa’s iGEM team began their participation in the iGEM organization with the 2008 iGEM competition under the tutelage of Dr. Mads Kaern. Calling from our nation’s capital, the uOttawa iGEM team is composed of a diverse group of students from a variety of different programs, ranging from biotechnology to business. As a result, our team has excelled in iGEM’s many fields of interest, including public outreach, software engineering and biological research. In the past years, our outreach team directed and produced a documentary on the nature of synthetic biology, and wrote, illustrated and published iGEM’s first ever children’s book Mr.Cool’s Microscopic Adventures. Our dry lab has also produced a Flash game for plasmid and genetic network construction and coded Biobricklayer, an application for researchers to aid in the design of genetic constructs and primers, all on top of modelling complex transcriptional systems. Finally, our true strength lies within our ability to quickly and efficiently construct large gene networks in both eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms.
We can be found on Facebook, Twitter @uottawaigem

Queens
The Queen’s Genetically Engineered Machine Team (QGEM) is an entirely-student run team that undertakes an innovative set of projects in the field of synthetic biology each year. Currently in our sixth year of development, our goal is to genetically engineer organisms to solve real world problems and advance the frontiers of synthetic biology. QGEM has distinguished itself as one of the leading teams in Canada, having achieved a gold medal at the regional competition of the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM). QGEM exemplifies interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation, boasting a diverse mix of students in Chemical Engineering, Biochemistry, Computing, Biology and Life Sciences throughout the years. QGEM members learn to interact with individuals from different backgrounds and with different skill sets. With skills such as communication and collaboration becoming increasingly important in the professional world, QGEM is helpful in its ability to instil these skills in its members. In addition, QGEM’s performances in previous competitions has elevated the profile of scientific research at Queen’s, benefiting not only the Queen’s but also the greater Kingston community.
Feel free to contact us through email info@qgemteam.com or via our webiste: www.qgemteam.com

Toronto
The University of Toronto team has participated in iGEM projects since 2006 with growing achievements every year. Our projects have ranged from building a five-component fluorescence-based thermometer in E.coli, to research on Bacterial Neural Networks. Most recently, the team gained a gold medal for our research on biofilm formation, where we developed a semi-high throughput procedure for measurement of biochemical parameters on a microtiter plate in order to characterize the machinery in E. coli that decides between a stationary, low growth state and a mobile, high growth state.
Beyond our laboratory achievements, the U of T iGEM team actively contributes to furthering human practices of synthetic biology. From hosting public outreach events with molecular biology enthusiasts in the Toronto DIY movement, to developing interactive safety-training manuals to emphasize problem solving in unpredictable environments in simulated accidents, we hope to share our knowledge and excitement with everyone.

We welcome you to contact our team through email igem@g.skule.ca, Facebook @iGEMToronto, or Twitter @iGEM_Toronto.

Waterloo
The Waterloo iGEM team is a student-led research group basedout of the University of Waterloo. Students come from a wide variety ofbackgrounds, including Science, Engineering, and Mathematics. Each year,Waterloo team members investigate current problems and work to create asolution using synthetic biology. After the ideation and research of theproject, students work to bring their project to life. The three areas of focusare Lab & Design, Mathematical Modeling, and Human Practices. These threeareas compliment each other to create a whole project. With a student-led and faculty-supported group, the team embodies the spirit of ‘Why not’ that is characteristic of Waterloo.
The team can be found at their website igem.uwaterloo.ca,Twitter and Facebook.

McMaster
The increasing prevalence of multidrug-resistant and hypervirulent bacterial strains represents a growing global healthcare concern. However, early detection of pathogenic microbes allow for timely care of patients and the prevention of infectious strains proliferation. In the face of the current challenges in profiling bacterial infections, we are designing a fast and user-friendly detection assay using fluorogenic DNAzymes as the molecular probe. Our fluorogenic DNAzymes are single-stranded functionalized DNA capable of cleaving a fluorophore-quencher construct specifically in the presence of E. coli. Upon cleavage, the quencher can no longer suppress the fluorophore, resulting in intense fluorescence. This fluorescence intensity can be also used to quantify the amount of E. coli, and potentially achieve strain-specific recognition. Our novel approach to early pathogen detection technology can potentially enhance our ability to respond to disease outbreaks from infectious bacteria. Find out more about McMaster iGEM at our website www.mcmastergem.com and connect with us on Twitter (@iGEM_McMaster) as well as Facebook (iGEM McMaster). To contact us, feel free to email us at igemmcmaster@gmail.com.