Renert School iGEM – striving to create a glucose biosensor for urinary testing in diabetic cats

Renert School iGEM. Calgary, AB

Developing a biosensor for early detection and monitoring of cat diabetes (tech focus: synthetic biology)


Team Grade Level: High School
Team Experience Level: Beginner
STEM Focus: Synthetic Biology


RHS-Calgary is a highschool level iGEM team from Renert school that is striving to create a glucose biosensor for urinary testing in diabetic cats. iGEM fuels the innovation of new creations in the SynBio world, and RHS-Calgary has decided to do so through the lens of diabetic and veterinary care.

Renert school’s synthetic biology competition team strives to provide an early-detection method for feline diabetes. Through dedicated research and collaboration, the team is working towards spreading awareness and developing new technological advancements to aid in diabetes testing in cats.

The challenge RHS-Calgary is trying to combat is the lack of awareness surrounding feline diabetes and available early testing. When a cat is diagnosed with diabetes, remission is not likely unless that cat is diagnosed early. Most cats are unable to be treated to the best extent possible or go into remission because their owners are not aware of the symptoms or the risk of the disease. To try and aid with this issue, the Renert iGEM team is in the process of creating a litter additive that changes colours to detect and monitor feline diabetes in cats. The team would be implementing a urinary monitoring system to detect colour change to see if glucose levels are spiking in the urine of diabetic cats.

The system our team is creating, titled “Glucolitter”, will benefit both the cat and the owner as the owner will be able to recognize when their cat may have diabetes, and will be able to take them to the vet to be treated as early as possible. Through our system, RHS-Calgary aims to create an innovative, effective and cost friendly litter additive in order to monitor and detect feline diabetes.

Our preliminary steps for implementation of our solution are to start raising awareness in Renert’s school community by doing fundraisers and different educational opportunities for children of all ages in our K-12 school. Currently, RHS-Calgary’s wet lab team has practiced mini-prepping our cultures, made calcium competent cells over the summer, created agar plates to test the viability of our cells, acquired an empty plasmid, were able to gain access to the GoX enzyme to use and we have also begun work towards testing these genes and creating our plasmid.

The main focus of the team is to create a successful project by next October in order to attend and compete in the 2021 iGEM competition. When our team’s laboratory work has concluded, marketing of our product will take place, with the ultimate goal to have a cost friendly and easily accessible product available to cat owners and veterinary professionals.



Posted on

June 16, 2022

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