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University of York students strike gold with bacteria-powered battery

Posted on 6 November 2013

A team of science students from the University of York struck gold in an international competition with a project to develop a bacteria-powered electrical battery.

York students take to the stage in the iGEM competition

The eight-strong York team won a gold medal in the European Regional Jamboree section of the International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) competition. This was York’s first ever entry for the regional event which was held in Lyon.

A team of 14 students from the Departments of Biology and Chemistry worked over the summer in research laboratories under the guidance of academic staff where they developed improvements to the efficiency of a microbial fuel cell – a type of battery powered by live bacteria.

iGEM is a global synthetic biology competition which attracts teams from academic institutions around the world. In the competition, the York students had to present their ideas and deal with questions from the other competitors.

This is a great illustration of what our hard-working and motivated undergraduates can achieve in a very short time

Dr James Chong

Team co-ordinator, Dr James Chong from the University’s Department of Biology said: “Team York have done brilliantly winning a gold medal at iGEM on their very first outing. The fact the students achieved this in the University’s 50th year makes it all the more memorable.

“This is a great illustration of what our hard-working and motivated undergraduates can achieve in a very short time.”

Team member and undergraduate biology student Caroline Pearson said: "It was really interesting to see the idea for the project develop from the original brainstorming sessions to the final outcome. iGEM is great opportunity to improve your confidence in sharing ideas and voicing your opinion." 

Notes to editors:

Contact details

Sheila Perry
Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322029

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