SCIE Teams Won High School Top10 and Gold Medals in 2021 iGEM



High School Top10

We are GreatBay_SZ, a group of secondary school students. We come from a range of high schools, including Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Guangdong and Hong Kong. 

As teenagers with diverse personalities and hobbies, science, especially synthetic biology is a common interest shared among us. We believe in a bright future and hope to explore and deepen our knowledge and curiosity into the scientific field of study. 


Through this project, we aim to understand the numerous global issues and inquire into possible solutions in solving them through synthetic biology and laboratory research.

Ensuring that people can distinguish the authenticity of commodities is crucial as counterfeit goods, artworks, and relics will harm the society economically. The current techniques on authenticating are complicated and time-consuming. 

Therefore, GreatBay_SZ decided to develop an efficient, simple, and durable spore detection system to verify the authenticity of items. The current spore detection system has drawbacks such as the inefficiency in both gene editing and detection process. So our team aims to develop spores that contain a special DNA barcode sequence in its genome and can survive in an environment for long durations. This provides a safe, efficient, and unique way to track for items. We will be using homologous recombination to transfer the barcode sequence into the genome of yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) to improve the efficiency of gene editing. To detect spores, we selected CRISPR-Cas12a as it has high efficiency. 

The advantages of this system are that the barcoded spores: 1) cannot be seen by naked eye, 2) can survive for long duration, 3) are hard to copy. Thus, our project provides a potential technique for future anti-counterfeiting.

Words from Students

I have benefited greatly from participating in this iGEM. Not only did I gain a great group of friends from different grades in different schools, but it also helped me to talk to many teachers who have made outstanding contributions to synthetic biology and learn a lot beyond the textbook. 

At the same time, I also experienced a lot during the competition. For example, the sunrise after staying up all night before the wiki freeze, the anxiety of sitting in the conference room before the presentation, the anticipation and fear before the awards …… 

And I am glad that I had the team with me through it all.

iGEM has enriched my whole 2021, from the beginning of the project to the back of the liver wiki, from the beginning only want to experiment to the back of the forced to learn modeling drawing artwork, especially in October every night to write the wiki of that time, the pressure is very big, the process is very difficult, but also very rewarding.

Through igem also met a group of very interesting people, together with the summer in the laboratory goofing off, together with liver wiki, together with group building. Although we were top 10 this year, we didn’t make it to the final, which was a pity, but we gained a lot of like-minded friends and memories that belong to us.

GreatBay-SZ, thanks for meeting us!


Gold Medal


We are a group of synthetic biology lovers

Cancer, one of the world’s largest causes of death,a barrier to overcome by modern medicine. With such a high death rate along with the difficulties faced in the process of drug development, the price of cancer drugs remains high. For example, trastuzumab is at least in the tens of thousands in China.

BUT!This Year!

The new technology of aptamers has brought us an opportunity.

By utilizing aptamer technology, drug production can be systematized. Due to the diversity of aptamers themselves, major pharmaceutical manufacturers can easily select suitable aptamers to target specific cancer cells without spending a lot of time searching for and producing suitable antibodies.

Our project aims to create a highly stable and specific aptamer delivery system to target breast cancer cells, thereby reducing the toxicity of the delivered drug to other tissue cells.

First, we intend to use nanoparticles made of liposome and PLGA materials as drug carriers to prevent direct contact between toxic drugs and other cells.

In addition, we will conjugate HER2-aptamers to nanoparticles to achieve targeting functions and to improve the specificity of Aptamer by making it pH-sensitive.

Also, we will improve the stability of the drug in blood vessels by PEG modification of nanoparticles and aptamer so that it won’t degrade during circulation.

Words from Students

When we’re brainstorming the project, I thought all the ideas were pretty good. Unfortunately, I didn’t think of any of them myself.The seniors of the last year are academic legends! (in contrast, I’m a trash, wow, such a trash)

IGEM’s wiki editing tool is distratrous.  Every time I edit the css file, I need to refresh the entire browser cache. Be sure to make use of the browser’s built-in debugging function (F12), render latex formulas with mathjax, and always remember, vs code is the best code editor.

Be sure to apply for permission to the laboratories of other universities about two weeks in advance. The recent epidemic policy is strict. Remember to constantly update nucleic acid tests (it’s sad to have just arrived at the lab and then couldn’t get in because of expired nucleic acid tests)

In the iGEM team, you can get to know many academic legends, and maybe a few will become your friends?

Finally, when you finish the last batch of cell experiments in the evening and wander in the middle of the night in a heavy coat, don’t be afraid and never panic. There are thousands and more igemers just like you. You are never alone.

iGEM has brought a lot to me. It’s the first time for to dedicate a whole year to a project: condidence, then disappointment and then pick up hope over and over again. I gave me the ability to remain calm and stable no matter the obstacle I face.

iGEM is also a mirror, staring from a dim and somber corner of a room. It forced me to re-consider myself, my drawbacks, my advantages. It taught me how to deal to complex relationships, things that are wrong and mistakes that shouldn’t be made. Doubt will arose about myself, and often forces me to runaway from the toublesome trifles. But after this period of time, I was able to change, and this change is going to be different for other people, perhaps more humble, or more stable. who knows.

In the past few months, I was very happy to work with my teammates in GBSCIE to do such a project of breast cancer. In the beginning, we weren’t sure whether to do a project like this because the project does not combine a lot of knowledge of synthetic biology, but I think that it was very rare and precious for us to be able to come together and decide to do what we wanted to do instead of doing a project just for rewardst. It was the first time for me to participate in iGEM. Although I lacked experience, I was very lucky that my seniors and I  did a lot and I had learned a lot from this experience. 

I think iGEM can really provide a chance to explore yourself, a chance to re-examine yourself — what you love and what you are adept at. 

Although this year’s project only got a rewards of gold, I feel that I do not regret participating in iGEM and doing such a project with my teammates, because the experience and things learned in this project can not be measured by awards.


Gold Medal


Bacterial endotoxin detection is essential for disease diagnosis and the introduction of new drugs, its demand is increasing every year. 
Inspired by the importance of bacterial endotoxin detection and limulus protection, GreatBay_United plans to develop a new efficient and accurate bacterial endotoxin detection method to meet the market demand for bacterial endotoxin detection. 
We hope to create a practical artificial LAL which can hopefully replace natural LAL using protein characterization of engineered strains of synthetic biology. And by designing multiple systems base on the principal of natural LAL , we hope to construct a fully functional artificial LAL without the usage of horseshoe crabs’ blood. Once LAL is replaced, there will no longer be such high demand of horseshoe crabs’ blood. We may actually benefit human being and as well save an endangered species.

Words from Students

It is an honor and pleasure to be a member of the IGEM team GreatBay United. In the duration from initially gathering up and becoming a team to successfully achieving a satisfying outcome, I learned much more than I expected at the beginning. 

From studying the basic knowledge and experimental techniques to digging into the three systems that are used for our project; from initially looking into countless essays with no clue to finally figuring out systems that can be applied; from strangers at the beginning to friends…This is a process of continuous studying and receiving, and the outcome also more or less brought me happiness and sense of achievement.

When a journey lasting for more than two hundred days ended, there were mixed feelings in my heart: excitement, joy, pride and reluctance. The endless experiments, writing and coding, and the laughter in the lounge …… all seem to have happened yesterday, but are far away from me. No more researches, learning ‘new skills’ from scratch, and staying up all night for wiki, pv……

There are inevitably regrets during the journey, but more than that, it was a great experience with my teammates: completing a doctor’s interview on the beach during the hike; getting help from OPCF after numerous encounters; meeting many shining ‘giants’ in various fields; participating in COP15 as a youth representative; posting articles on social media. We were tired but felt a sense of achievement.

Before we met iGEM and GBU, our fantasy was only “just imagine it”, but it changed into “just do it”. Together with people who share the same goal, we are slowly approaching our target.

GBU Forever!!!