iGEM York

A project by: Robyn Whiting

pledged of £3,500 target

This project did not reach its target.

Completion Date: Sun 28 Sep 2014
Using Synthetic Biology to clean up Coastlines

iGEM York

Our team of 20 mainly undergraduate scientists is working to develop microbes that clean up mining pollution.  We need your help to showcase our team’s work at iGEM - an international competition between universities and elevate York to the world stage.  All of us would really value your support!!

Who We Are

Our iGEM (international genetically engineered machine) team is composed of students from different areas (Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Physics, Electronic Engineering etc) working in laboratories in order to develop a real interdisciplinary project which we want to take to the final of the competition in Boston, USA.

By taking part in this competition we aim to raise the international profile of the University of York. The presence of the University of York in the iGEM initiative creates strong bounds between young researchers and improves the professional connections.

Our Project

Our aim is to geneticly engineer a bacteria that can clean up an area affected by mining waste.  Mining waste is a very bad polutant as  it contains many toxic compounds such as lead and cadmium, which destroy ecosystems and can end up in the human food chain. 

Want to know more of the history behind our project and how we plan to use science to solve this problem.

Deposition of mining waste into open areas was very common in the second half of the 20th century and although this activity has considerably decreased over the last decade, its consequences persist in the environment. One example of this is Portman Bay in Spain, which we will use as a case study. Around 50 million tons of mine tailings were deposited in the region from 1958 to 1991.  Recent studies have shown that metals resulting from the decomposition of minerals like pyrite are detrimental to the life of the local fauna.

In order to solve this issue our team is focusing on designing a microorganism capable of dealing with pyrite in two ways: it would remove sulfates produced by the mineral oxidation (avoiding acid mine drainage and acid rains) and at the same time collect the iron ions produced in the reaction and store it for further recovery in post-processing. 

Why we need funding?

iGEM requires all the teams to fund all of there costs in order to make this project happen we need your help

The Funding we raise will be used in the following areas

  • Materials and reagents that are essential for our project development

  • Human Practices: The socio-educational aspect of our project, focusing on outreach that allows the connection between Synthetic Biology and society.

  • Travel costs: The competition takes place at MIT, in Boston and we will therefore need to pay for plane tickets and accommodation during the event, as well as for registration fees for the team members that will be representing us at the iGEM competition.

We need your collaboration to make this happen and have some great rewards to share with our supporters.  So if you’re interested in the environment, or if you’re keen to help the next generation of researchers gain valuable please support us with a donation.   Thank you.

Money Isn't Everything

If you are interested in our project and think it's a worthwhile cause please click the  'I want to help' button above and help share our project


Our social media







2 years, 10 months ago

Woo hoo! computor science just Gave us £500

2 years, 10 months ago

our lab selfie - were finally in labs makeing our Bacteria!!!!!

2 years, 10 months ago

Robyn Whiting

generated 77 clicks

Sophia Duffy

generated 22 clicks

Nikola Panayotov

generated 19 clicks


generated 9 clicks and donated

Ruth Haley

generated 4 clicks


donated £50.00

Dev Preston


Teodora Manea

followed this project and signed up to help

Jonathan May

followed this project and signed up to help

Louisa Cox

followed this project and signed up to help


signed up to help

Cauã Westmann

signed up to help

Cazza Mulligan

signed up to help

Hanna Esser

signed up to help


signed up to help

Susie Braithwaite

signed up to help

Sarah Andrews

signed up to help

Ric Cañavate

signed up to help

2 anonymous donations totalling £10.00

Only project creators and their sponsors can post comments.

I was happy to support as in the 1970's I was a member of the Colliery Spoil Reclamation research and advisory unit and worked on colliery spoil across the northern coalfield . I was very aware that microorganisms were very important in breaking down pyrite and contributing to the acid mine drainage. Good luck in finding others that lock the sulphate up! I would add that your plea for funding slightly put me off owing to the spelling and missing word errors! sorry but it's my age! Hazel Frith

This is such a cool project - and hope that alumni will help you reach your goal. We wish you all the best - keep sharing!