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Tuesday, 21 November, 2017

Viral or bacterial? New test for infections

Team of TUM and LMU students honored as 1st Runner Up at the iGEM competition

Student team at the iGEM-competition in Cambridge (USA). Photo: iGEM-Team

Student team at the iGEM-competition in Cambridge (USA). Photo: iGEM-Team

Increasing antibiotic resistance is a global menace. In order to avoid unnecessary antibiotic medication, Munich students have developed a test system that can efficiently differentiate between bacterial and viral infections. At the international iGEM competition they were honored as 1st Runner Up in the category "overgraduate".

Opens external link in new windowCascAID – this is the name of the new system that the team set-up to quickly and efficiently test whether antibiotics are necessary. To this end, the Munich team of this year's iGEM competition took advantage of the recently discovered protein Cas13a.

Unlike related proteins, Cas13a has the unique ability to bind and cleave RNA domains in a highly specific manner. Building on this capability, the iGEM team developed the test system CascAID (Cas13a controlled assay for infectious diseases), which combines an automated microfluidic device for rapid analysis and extraction of nucleic acids with a paper-based readout system.

In addition to the 1st Runner Up award in the overall standings, the system received special awards in the categories “Best Diagnostics Project,” “Best Model,” “Best Hardware,” “Best Software” and “Best Applied Design.”

The International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition (Opens external link in new windowiGEM) is an international competition in the field of synthetic biology. Also this year, students from LMU and TUM formed a joint, interdisciplinary team of molecular biologists, biotechnologists, biophysicists and bioinformaticians.

The work was carried out in the laboratory of Prof Dr Opens external link in new windowFriedrich Simmel at the Center for Nanotechnology and Nanomaterials of the Technical University of Munich in Garching. The joint project was initiated by the DFG Research Training Group "Molecular Principles of Synthetic Biology", led by spokeswoman Prof. Dr. Kirsten Jung.

In total, about 300 teams took part in the competition. Grand Prize Winner in the category "Overgraduates" was the team of TU Delft. Grand Prize Winner in the category "Undergraduates" was a team from Vilnius-Lithuania, followed by teams from the College of William and Mary (USA) and University of Heidelberg.

Source: TUM Press Office

Further information:
Opens external link in new windowwww.grk2062.uni-muenchen.de/news-events/igem2017competition/index.html
Opens external link in new window2017.igem.org/Team:Munich
Opens external link in new window2017.igem.org/Competition/Results

Contact:
Prof Dr Friedrich Simmel
Systems Biophysics and Bionanotechnology
Physics Department and WSI/ZNN (E14)
Technische Universität München
Am Coulombwall 4a
85748 Garching
Germany

Tel: +49 (0)89 289 – 11611

Email: Opens window for sending emailsimmel(at)tum.de

Web: Opens external link in new windowwww.e14.ph.tum.de/en/group-members/friedrich-c-simmel/

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