Figure 5: (a) A plate of non-glowing
E.coli bacteria before the introduction of Hin allows the flipping of the DNA. Below (b) is a
plate that began with the same DNA, but was introduced to the Hin protein that allows for the flipping of designated segments
of the DNA.
ending up with Edge A in the first position and in 5’ to 3’ orientation. Those
that glowed yellow flipped from their
original positions of Edge B first and
Edge A second, to a final orientation of
Edge A in the first position and Edge B
in the second position, both pointing
in 5’ to 3’ direction.
SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY'S POTENTIAL
Synthetic biology is a natural fit for multidisciplinary research for undergraduate students. The iGEM community
provides a supportive environment for
teams wishing to engage in research.
The applications of synthetic biology are widely varied, and projects can
be tailored to individual interests. The
projects carried out by our team have
a deliberate focus on mathematics by
applying biology to solve math problems, but many other iGEM projects
have components of computation,
simulation, and mathematical modeling. The results have application in
medicine, the environment, and biofuels, as well as other benefits from data
analysis and model building, to the
testing of experimental designs. Readers can check out more at iGEM’s web
1. Adleman, L. 1994. M. Molecular computation of
solutions to combinatorial problems. Science, 266.
2. Haynes K. A., Broderick M. L., Brown A. D., et al. 2008.
Engineering bacteria to solve the burnt pancake
problem. Journal Biol En., 2, No. 8.
3. Registry of Standard Biological Parts:
Jeff Poet is an associate professor of mathematics at
Missouri Western State University and 2010 winner of the
Mathematical Association of America Missouri Section
Distinguished University Teaching of Mathematics Award.
Malcolm Campbell is professor of biology at Davidson
College in Davidson, North Carolina, co-founder of the
Genome Consortium for Active Teaching (GCAT), and
co-author with Laurie Heyer of the premier undergraduate
textbook on genomics, now in its second edition.
Laurie Heyer, an associate professor of mathematics at
Davidson College, lectures widely on bioinformatics, and
in 2009 was selected as the Matthe ws Award recipient in
recognition of her unique service to the College.
Todd Eckdahl is professor of biology at Missouri Western
State University and has won the James V. Mehl Faculty
Scholarship A ward, a Board of Governors Distinguished
Professor Award, and a State of Missouri Governor’s Award
for Excellence in Teaching.
Together, the four authors have collaborated since 2006
to co-mentor undergraduate teams of synthetic biology
researchers. The students have won awards at the annual
iGEM competition for their NSF-funded research in