Listeria monocytogenes is a bacterial pathogen which causes a disease called listeriosis. This disease, while relatively rare, has a very high morality rate and due to its highly infectious nature, can be devastating when outbreaks occur.
Currently there is an outbreak in South Africa that has infected over 600 and killed nearly 200 people. Those particularly at risk are those who have a weakened immune system. These include: pregnant women, those undergoing chemotherapy, or those with HIV/AIDS.
We are a group of biology students at The University of Manchester. We're currently competing in the 2018 International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition, where we must create a genetically engineered microbe that can perform a function.
We are are developing a detection method for Listeria monocytogenes in cheese. We are working to genetically enhance the already present cheese-making bacteria to be able to detect key signalling molecules produced by Listeria monocytogenes . On detection of these molecules, our genetically enhanced cheese maker will cause a vibrant colour change, staining the cheese bright purple, alerting the consumer to its contamination.
As part of iGEM, we also need to present this product at a worldwide meet-up of teams at MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston.
We've been very fortunate to receive some financial support from The Institute of Biotechnology at The University of Manchester, where we're currently working on our research. We've also received support in kind from Promega, IDT, SYNBIOCHEM, SnapGene and MathWorks. However, we still need to raise roughly £5000 to fund travel to and accommodation in Boston for our 7 team members, as well as experimental and laboratory equipment.
Who are we?
There are 7 members of our iGEM team, made up of a mixture of 1st and 2nd year biology students. We are:
Ryan Smith: 1st Year Biochemistry
Ieva Norvaišaitė: 1st Year Pharmacology
Tom Butterfield: 1st Year Microbiology
Sam Hemmings: 2nd Yeat Biochemistry
Namrata Gogineni: 2nd Year Biochemistry
Ismat Kabbara: 2nd Year Biochemistry
Ed Deshmukh-Reeves: 2nd year Microbiology
Where will the money go?
- If we raise our minimum target we will prioritise paying for our travel expenses and presenting our project in Boston this October.
- Hitting our full target however, will allow us to maximise the efficiency of the system we aim to develop and will increase our chances of winning awards at the competition finals.
- If we raise more than our full target and have surplus funds, any extra will be donated to the University's 2019 iGEM team.
- £5 - you will be mentioned in our presentation
- £15 - we will write your name in colourful E.coli & send a picture to you on a postcard of thanks.
- Grand prize: Our cheese will be named after the person donating the largest sum of money.
Find us here
Check out our website or follow us on twitter for the latest updates on our project: http://2018.igem.org/Team:Manchester/Team