Why iGEM?

Our Mission

Yale iGEM’s mission is to inspire and facilitate original undergraduate ideas. We specialize in the rapidly evolving field of synthetic biology, an area that combines principles of engineering and biology to in effect “program” living systems to solve world problems. The development of genetic circuits, transcriptional networks, and directed forms of evolution for genome editing have been just some of the paradigm-shifting scientific advancements enabled by the birth of synthetic biology. Please visit the link to the left to learn more about synthetic biology. 

What does iGEM mean for Yale Undergraduates?

Undergraduate research is a time to gain skills and explore a lot of different areas in the hopes of identifying a field that interests you. However, what many students come to realize is that real research is far different from the lab courses they take in college. Most lab classes do not give an accurate picture of what research is. iGEM is a competitive research program that seeks to address this disconnect to produce a more independent and curiosity-driven generation of young scientists. 

iGEM is the opportunity to:

  • Compete to have the coolest biotechnology project against teams from around the world
  • Develop your own research project with the support of mentors
  • Contribute to a registry of open-source biological parts
  • Explore the broader societal impact of synthetic biology

iGEM is one of the most unique research experiences available to undergraduates at Yale. Yale iGEM students work together to design and carry-out an original research project during the summer and academic year. With a dedicated lab space on West Campus and the availability of mentorship from the Isaacs Lab, Yale iGEM is a completely self-sufficient research group.

Students that fit iGEM best are those willing to break away from the traditional conception of an undergraduate research experience. This is not without risk because there is no guarantee that every aspect of Yale iGEM’s project will work. However, those students that persevere and work together on the iGEM project may find it to indeed be the most challenging but also rewarding learning experience available to them on campus. 

We believe our graduate student mentor, Natalie Ma, summed up the Yale iGEM experience perfectly when she said, “iGEM isn’t easy… but it’s worthwhile.”