A team of undergraduates known as Team Peshawar has scored a silver medal in International Genetically Engineered Machines Competition (iGEM). Team Peshawar or Pakistan not only won a silver medal but were also nominated for Best Biosafety Award. This International event took place from 9th-13th of November 2017 in Boston. The event housed some 300 competitor teams on the subject synthetic Biology. It is one of the largest events in science and technology that takes place annually.
The team belonged to young scientists chosen from different cities of Pakistan. These students belonged to Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Multan, Faisalabad, Khyber Agency, Nowshera, Charsadda, Attock, Swabi, and Mardan.
The students that were permitted to visit the US were Muhammad Dawood, Ushma Farooq, Hassan Raza, Hassnain Oasim, Ayesha Khan and Babar Nawaz. This team initially was named as Team Peshawar or Pakistan.
Team Peshawar created two projects that were designed and displayed in the event. Both the projects were related to Genetic Engineering and DNA. The team created a genetically engineered “reporter fish” that could detect heavy metal contamination in fresh water. The fish, when deployed in water, could sense the contamination and turn color to provide a signal.
The team also designed and developed MAX. this project was related to digital interface for the biosensor system. MAX was engineered to send an end user when used by bacterial cells. It is an Arduino-based digital component.
The team’s supervisor Dr. Faisal Khan was very happy with the success of the students and wished to join the iGEM competition next year again. He himself had trained the students at Institute of Integrative Biosciences, CECOS University in Peshawar and supported by the Directorate of Science and Technology, Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He expects the government to encourage students to join International platforms regularly.