On November 15th,2021, the 2021 International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition (iGEM) dropped the curtain. The “NNU-China” team, composed of undergraduates from the School of Food Science and Pharmaceutical Engineering (SFSPE) of Nanjing Normal University, won the Global Gold Award. This is the first time for NNU’ers to participate in this top international academic competition.
The "NNU-China" team consisted of 16 undergraduates from the SFSPE. Under the guidance of the teachers including Xiaoman Sun, Qingzhuo Wang, Chao Ye, etc., "Construction of the BL21 (DE3)-derived variant strains library to rapidly improve the antimicrobial peptides production" was selected as the research topic. After 10 months of scientific exploration, the team employed base editor and CRISPR-Cas9 technology to construct a bank of BL21 (DE3) derived mutant strains with different T7RNAP RBS sequences and a high-throughput host screening platform for antimicrobial peptide production. The problem of antibacterial peptide yield was solved effectively, and all the tasks of the subject were completed. During the 2021 iGEM Global Finals held from November 4th to 14th, 2021, the "NNU - China" team clearly and completely displayed the results of the project through a web page, video, PPT, and an online statement of defense. After obtaining the unanimous affirmation of the judges, they were given the Gold Award.
A total of 343 teams from more than 100 countries and regions participated in this year's competition. There were more than 150 Chinese teams including those from Peking University, Tsinghua University, Zhejiang University, Nanjing University, and other prestigious universities. During the summer vacation, Dean He Huang personally went to the site to guide the preparation of the team, analyze the existing problems, and put forward specific goals and requirements. It is also worth mentioning that the school-guided "Worldshaper-Nanjing" Senior High School team won the Gold Award again in the 2021 iGEM Senior High School Group Finals and won the Single Nomination award for Best Part Collection.