Who are we?
We are Sheffield iGEM; an undergrad team from the University of Sheffield that will be representing Sheffield at the iGEM competition. Our team is made up of 3 biologists, 4 engineers, and 1 computer scientist.
What is iGEM?
iGEM started at MIT by 3 engineers, that wanted to introduce engineering principles to biology. Since 2004, the competition has grown from having 15 teams to now having almost 400 teams from all five continents. Universities, like Imperial College, Harvard, Oxford, Heidelberg, Tokyo, and Szenzen are a few examples. iGEM combines biology, engineering, and entrepreneurship, to tackle real world problems in areas such as Medicine, Environment, and Manufacturing.
What is our project?
Our goal: push the microplate reader technology further to make it smaller, cheaper, and therefore more widely accessible to anyone in science. Biology is one of these areas where because everything is so expensive, it’s always easy to read about it, but very hard to get practical experience on it. For example, highschool labs for STEM students, University teaching labs, community labs, research labs, and field labs, can all benefit from our device.
Why OpenLux: A microplate reader made by companies can be as expensive as £20,000. A microplate reader that can only measure light, just like ours can only do, costs £4,000, while our will cost £200.
How can you help?
Our project in its majority is funded by the University of Sheffield, through its various Departments, and the total costs are £19,000. The £16,500 have already been covered by the University, leaving £2,500 to raise. This amount includes registering to be in the competition, registering to attend the conference, parts for our machine, and costs for going to Boston to present our project.