The Technion team has won a gold medal in the international iGEM competition for the second year in a row. In addition to the medal, the team won the following: first place for Best New Application, and three fifth places in the final – (1) Best Presentation, (2) Best Applied Design and (3) Best New Basic Part.
The Technion team, whose full name is Technion IGEM team 2015, developed a unique solution to prevent baldness, based on research in synthetic biology. This is a substance that is secreted to the scalp from a unique comb and breaks down the hormone that causes male baldness. Unlike existing drugs, which are consumed orally and can cause impotence, the technology developed at the Technion will not have such side effects since it does not involve the ingestion of any substance.
Team leader Professor Roee Amit, from the Department of Biotechnology and Food Engineering, explains: “Our most significant win is for Best New Application Project, i.e. first place in the New Application Project track in which we competed. Reaching the finals, and the achievements that we recorded, also make us very happy.”
Some 2300 students, in 245 teams from all over the world, participated in the competition, which was held in Boston. As stated, this is the second year that the Technion team, which members were 10 students from various departments on campus, has won a gold medal in the competition. The team, which moto is “Be Bold, Not Bald”, spent a year and a half preparing for the current competition, and particularly the past month.
“Competing in an international competition of this magnitude is an extraordinary experience, ” says team member Alexey Tomsov. “The level is high and the challenge is tremendous. You must constantly maintain originality, innovation and high-level research, because you’re competing against hundreds of teams from the world’s leading universities.”
The Technion’s high school team – which is also Israel’s first high school team – did not return empty-handed: it won a silver medal and the Best Modeling prize. This team is made up of students from the President’s Program for Future Scientists and Inventors, which is run by the Harry and Lou Stern Family Science and Technology Youth Center at the Technion.