A team of Greek students from the University of Thessaly’s research team, iGEM Thessaly, was awarded the gold medal at the international synthetic biology competition held in Boston.
Organised by MIT University, it is the largest synthetic biology competition that attracts more than 6,000 students each year.
Teams of students use standardized genetic parts to address real-world problems in fields including health and medicine, manufacturing, bioenergy, even art, and architecture. Students also take their work beyond the lab, engaging with clinicians, regulators, policy experts, and the general public to maximize their project’s potential real-world impact.
The Greek team of ten students and graduates from the University of Thessaly presented their research project titled “ODYSSEE”, aimed at creating a test for early diagnosis of tuberculosis, which they hope will be applied to refugees in Greece and all over the world.
"Refugees are in a very vulnerable position, deprived of their fundamental human rights, including access to healthcare. Tuberculosis is a leading health threat for populations affected by crises who lack access to innovative diagnostic tools," the team announced on its website.
Thessaly’s students came first, beating 375 teams from all over the world. Their project “ODYSSEE” was named ‘Best Diagnostics Project’ and won nominations for the Best Supporting Entrepreneurship and Best Integrated Human Prizes.
Teams were judged on the quality of their science as well as communication, collaboration with other teams, and the quality of genetic parts they submit back to the Registry of Parts for teams to use in the future.