Undergraduate students dance their research to win regional event
The Queen’s Genetically Engineered Machine (QGEM) team has defied convention by presenting their cutting-edge research through dance at the regional International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition. The undergraduate research group is the first Queen’s team to win the best model award at the regional iGEM for the novel use of dance.
“The dance aspect gave us a competitive edge,” says Kevin Chen, a fourth-year biochemistry student and leader of the QGEM team. “Instead of using PowerPoint, we danced to illustrate the way we used bacteria in our research.”
The iGEM competition is the world’s top undergraduate synthetic biology competition. The Queen’s team presented new research methods for increasing the efficiency of biosynthesis and bioremediation by modifying bacteria. This research could reduce our human impact on the environment. The team has advanced to the iGEM world championship jamboree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on November 2.
“I wanted to capture the attention of the judges,” says choreographer and Queen’s Dance Club member Devon Ryan, a third-year civil engineering student. “I used experienced dancers because we looked professional. The dancers had to move like building blocks; this meant becoming the structure rather than human beings.”
QGEM received support from the Student Initiative Fund established by the Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs. The fund provides year-round funding opportunities for special projects and initiatives that enhance the student experience and enrich the university community. The next deadline to apply is November 26.