Eleven students, from Grenoble INP – Phelma, UGA, the Pharmaceutical faculty, and the Chemistry and Biology faculty of Grenoble, represented the Grenoble – Alpes site at the MIT in Boston during the iGEM (“International Genetically Engineered Machine”) world competition.This multidisciplinary team submitted the PyoBusters project, which consisted in creating a device capable of detecting and eliminating the main pathogen responsible for serious infections in the context of cystic fibrosis.
They are among the teams that were awarded a gold medal and are candidates for the “Best Software Tool” and “Best Hardware” categories! Congratulations to the team for having taken up the challenge and carried the project through to the end despite the current health crisis. As for Grenoble INP – Phelma, UGA: congratulations to Sébastien and Hugo from the Biomedical Engineering (BIOMED) course, Florian from the Embedded systems and connected objects (SEOC) course, and Mattis from the Signal, image, communication, multimedia (SICOM) course.
A little bit of history
iGEM is the largest student competition for synthetic biology. Created in 2004 by the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, this competition has become iconic and brings in over 5000 students from almost 50 different countries every year. The challenge for the various teams is to harness their multidisciplinary skills, whether in programming, biology, electronics, 3D printing, modelling or bioinformatics, in order to develop a viable project in a very limited amount of time. The goal of this international gathering is to promote and popularise science in general, to offer valuable professional experience to the participants and to find solutions for social and public health issues.
What is the PyoBusters project?
It is a device that detects and eliminates the main pathogen that causes serious infections in the context of cystic fibrosis. Patients living with cystic fibrosis undergo intense, restrictive and very expensive daily treatments. In addition to these treatments, antibiotics are often prescribed to limit superinfections in the lungs, which is considered to be the main cause of death for cystic fibrosis. These treatments are not curative – they only reduce the symptoms and lead to an increase in antibiotic resistance, which is a major issue in the current context. The project’s goal is to reduce resistance to antibiotic treatment, to improve quality of life for patients and to propose a means of early detection and elimination of the pathogens that cause infections.
The Grenoble INP – Phelma, UGA, Communication department met with the team during the project’s development. Have a look at the interview with Sébastien Rigollet, a 3rd-year student in the Biomedical Engineering (BIOMED) course..