International Genetically Engineered Machine

Petri dish


The international student competition in synthetic biology enables students to develop protocols and determine goals that can support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Diverse student group work together to design, build, test and evaluate their own system of exchangeable parts, “biobricks” using available and developed parts and basic as well as advanced molecular methods. Each year thousands of students worldwide unite in this activity work in the summer and present their efforts and results at a yearly fall conference; the iGEM Jamboree.

For more information, visit the iGEM website.

iGEM Uppsala

The international student competition in synthetic biology iGEM ( was initialised at Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, USA in the year of 2003. Each year teams and students from all over the world participate to use methods in molecular biology, bioinformatics and bioengineering to construct biological devices such as cells, biosensors, diagnostic tools and more. Students from Uppsala University has participated in iGEM since 2009. There is a strong link to the UN 2030 goals for a sustainable world. The projects goals can be to construct bacterial cells that can detect toxins, cells that can degrade plastic or detect pathogens in the environment. In Uppsala, the students, with support from faculty choose their own project after brainstorming workshops and ideation events.

Read a presentation about iGEM!

The Faculty of Science and Technology at Uppsala University, academic departments as well as companies and government agencies generously have supported the Uppsala University team throughout the years. The team size has varied from only three students the first year to close to 30 some years. A good number of students for this activity is around 20 students. The students come from different study backgrounds and from both bachelor and master level. The international and scientific mix of students is a prerequisite for fun and successful work. Since 2011, the department for Biology education is the host of iGEM and the experiemental work is carried through at the biomedical center, BMC during the summer. The focus and goals of iGEM is to train students in laboratory skills, including planning, biosecurity, documentation and presentation. The activity also trains students in theoretical modelling/bioinformatics as well as project communication and organisation. One example of iGEM project that has developed exceptionally well is the use of chromoproteins from corals as an attractive detection system in biological devices. The project has resulted in scientific publications as well as the publishing of one of the most popular manuals for experimental synthetic biology: Synthetic Biology A Lab Manual 2014 World Scientific by Liljeruhm, J, Gullberg, E and A. C. Forster.

If you participate in iGEM and fulfil the requirements for the following courses this will grant  you credits from Uppsala University.

Note 1: Inclusion of these courses in your degree is subject to decision by program coordinator of your educational program and may not be granted.
Note 2: The courses are offered resources permitting and under the condition that the student base is large enough (15-20 students). 

For non-European student the registration to 1MB205/and 1MB405 may be subject to additional study fees.

Interested in participating in iGEM?

Please, contact course responsible teacher Margareta Krabbe:

Apply by filling in the following non-binding questionnaire. Last day to apply is March 15, 2024. 

Apply by filling out the registration form for the iGEM course here!  

Last modified: 2023-12-01