Project Pitches 2024

High School Teams

United Robotics of Lacombe – BeeWise


LCHS BeeWise Program is the first Beekeeping Program for credits in the country. However the program has had devastating bee loses due to Alberta winters, threatening the viability of the program. Research indicates that the three main factors in bee death are carbon dioxide, humidity and temperature levels. The United Robotics of Lacombe Club proposes to build a datalogging arduino system that would monitor these three variables to discern the probable cause(s) of bee death in the winter.

Lethbridge High School iGEM – Bo-Find


The Lethbridge High School iGEM team, who aim to address world and local sustainability issues through STEM technologies, introduce Bo-Find, a rapid detection device for bovine respiratory disease. Our project emphasizes the responsible consumption and production of food, aiming for ethical production and environmental sustainability. Unfortunately, due to our current agricultural system, animal disease can spread rapidly through feedlots. Bovine respiratory diseases are a growing concern for farmers and policy-makers. Our project, Bo-Find, offers a cost-effective, easy-to-use solution for early bovine respiratory disease detection, reducing the need for antibiotics, preventing the spread of disease itself, as well as limiting the spread of antibiotic resistance genes to the environment. Our product will be used by veterinarians, government researchers, and farmers at the point-of-care. We envision our product to be made with environmentally safe and renewable materials.

Lethbridge High School iGEM – L.Evothyroxine


L. evothyroxine (a play on Lactobacillus and levothyroxine) aims to address difficulties associated with treatment of hypothyroidism. The project aims to use Lactobacillus, which exists in the small intestine, to synthesize thyroxine hormone, which is absorbed in the small intestine when taken as thyroxine medication. The use of gut bacteria allows for self regulation of thyroxine production once the modified bacterial population stabilizes. This removes the need for daily intake of thyroxine medication, allowing people affected by hypothyroidism to live without the associated restraints of traditional treatment such as necessity of access to pharmacy and control of food intake.

Renert High School – BioCapture


Our solution aims to transform atmospheric carbon emissions into bioplastics through the genetic engineering and modification of the fermentation pathway of Cupriavidus necator (C. necator). Following modification of the bacterium, not only will carbon capture be enhanced, but polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB), a biodegradable polymer, can be extracted from C. necator and transformed into viable bioplastic materials, as well.

Smile Buddy


Lack of education or motivation to build healthy oral habits can be very detrimental to the general human health, although this issue is often ignored or denounced. Bad oral hygiene is proven to be directly linked to chronic diseases such as diabetes, respiratory illness, cardiovascular disease, kidney complications, and much more. We have found two demographics that have reported to show higher rates of bad oral health; individuals with mental disorders, and those with lower socioeconomic status. We find it important to target these groups as the longer oral health is neglected, the more financially destructive and emotionally pressuring in the long run. Our plan is to construct a multi-tab structure app with both an engaging idle game learning component, and a routine forming calendar function. Additionally, we’ll include resources for individuals to find or apply for budget friendly or free dental services.

Collegiate Teams

University of Lethbridge Collegiate iGEM –

Bac2Root Health


Bac2Root Health is an innovative product designed to combat Clubroot disease in canola crops using synthetic biology. This product focuses on engineering beneficial microorganisms in the soil to create a sustainable and biological defense against Clubroot. By leveraging gene editing technologies, Bac2Root Health targets the pathogen directly in the soil, enhancing the natural defense system of canola plants and supporting root health. The approach moves away from traditional chemical-based treatments to a more eco-friendly solution, aiming to improve crop yield and soil health, reduce dependency on chemical inputs, and bolster plant immune responses against diseases. This novel strategy represents a significant advancement in plant health management, offering a sustainable, cost-effective, and innovative solution to the challenges posed by Clubroot disease to Canada’s canola crops.

University of Lethbridge Collegiate iGEM – ProSpore


Fabric waste is a major environment issue in our world. PET is one of the main plastic polluter found in clothing. Our project aims to degrade PET while producing energy. For this we are using genetically modified bacteria that are able to degrade PET and its byproducts which include MHET, BHET, TPA, ethylene glycol. Furthermore, we will be running our BL21 strain of E. coli through a three chambered microbial fuel cell. This will allow us to produce energy through the degradation process, making our projects more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

GreenLith Technologies


Every gadget today consists of Li-ion batteries. These batteries hold over 90% of the global grid market and as the world shifts to EVs to reduce its fossil fuel dependence, we need to be aware that Lithium is also finite, hence it too needs to be recycled. There are not many market players in recycling and those that are present rely heavily on chemical and mechanical processes, which are not only energy intensive and unsustainable but also expensive as Lithium extraction from recycling costs $4.96/kg as compared to lithium mining, which costs around $2.38/kg, causing us to depend more upon Lithium imports instead of recycling more often.
Therefore, we, at GreenLith, are trying to solve this problem by using synthetic biology, as not only would it be novel, and sustainable, but also it would reduce our dependence on Lithium imports as we aim to cut recycling costs by 80%. Hence, we invite you to join us in this exciting journey towards a cleaner, greener future as we are not just recycling batteries; we are redefining the future of energy storage and environmental sustainability.

TRASH-E (Trash Remediation in Aquatic Settings and other Hydro Environments)


As of 2023, more than 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine animals die from plastic pollution every year. Only 10 river systems contribute to 90% of the trash flowing into the oceans. However, the primary source of the trash in rivers is local waterways where organizations like the Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans volunteer their scuba diving skills to clean up our marine environment. These manual tasks can often be dangerous as scuba divers can face increased risks of decompression sickness, drowning, and hyperthermia the longer they dive. Our team—TRASH-E—aims to develop a semi-autonomous robot that allows a user to locate and mark where trash is located, autonomously move the robot to the corresponding location, and haul the trash to shore. Through this project, we aim to aid in international sustainability efforts by helping divers locate and pick up trash faster and safer.

University of Calgary BIOMOD – DNADetect


Rising neurodegenerative disorders are linked to blood-brain barrier damage, leading to significant health and economic burdens. Current diagnostic methods are slow, lack sensitivity, and fail to offer early detection, exacerbating the challenge of managing diseases like Alzheimer’s. Enter DNADetect: a cutting-edge nanoscale biosensor harnessing RNA aptamers and DNA origami to pinpoint neurovascular damage swiftly and accurately. This innovation promises early diagnosis, streamlining healthcare, reducing costs, and aligning with the UN’s goals for good health and sustainable, equitable medical practices.

University of Calgary iGEM – NanoHeme


There is a constant need for blood, yet the supply of human-donated blood is limited and has a short shelf life. This shortage is critical in emergency trauma incidences, where hemorrhaging is responsible for 40% of trauma-related deaths. Ambulances often don’t carry blood due to blood type incompatibilities and poor shelf life. But here’s where NanoHeme comes in. It’s a universal blood substitute that meets several UN sustainability goals and can help bridge this gap. NanoHeme will utilize a protein carrier naturally present in humans to transport hemoglobin through the blood and neutralize its toxic effects. This allows for the safe transportation of oxygen throughout the body, ultimately saving lives.

University of Calgary iGEM – MetalloSlayer


Water contamination remains a critical global issue, impacting human health and ecosystems alike. As the world’s largest and most crucial resource, there’s a pressing need for accessible and sustainable innovations in water purification. We propose to develop MetalloSlayer, a modular, protein-based water filtration platform that aims to address heavy metal water pollution.
S-layer proteins form highly ordered, two-dimensional arrays on the surface of many prokaryotic organisms and exhibit remarkable stability and are capable of self-assembling on a variety of supports and are easily purified. S-layer proteins in Bacillus sphaericus bacteria show a high capacity for bioadsorption of heavy metals like arsenic, lead, cadmium, chromium and mercury.
Through synthetic biology, we can modify and improve these S-layers as a bioadsorbant by improving their binding and specificity for different metal ions. S-layer proteins are capable of tolerating fusions with other proteins while still retaining the ability to assemble into a lattice formation. We will combine the S-layers with specific metal-binding proteins for better capture and adsorption of heavy metals.To ensure a modular system that can be customized for different contaminants, we are taking advantage of the well-studied SpyTag/SpyCatcher conjugation system for effective protein-protein ligation. We aim to create a fusion protein combining B. sphaericus S-layer protein and the SpyCatcher protein, enabling a reliable system of swappable protein functionalization. Genetically encoding different metal-binding proteins with the SpyTag peptide chain allows them to bind to the S-layers through a spontaneous isopeptide bond formation. These conjugated S-layer proteins will then be reassembled on a porous membrane filter material, creating a cost-effective, filtration system functionalized with a potent and modular heavy metal bioadsorbant.

University of Calgary iGEM – Amylotect


A presentation outlining Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and its mechanisms. AD is caused by a build-up of beta-amyloid proteins that initially form in the gut. Current diagnoses use neuroimaging and behavioral assessments, which are inefficient. We propose Amylotect: a tool that uses aptamers to detect beta-amyloid in stool samples. It is a cheap and effective way to diagnose Alzheimer’s, and has the capability of working before symptoms even start.