upcoming events: 

28-30 JUNE 2019 | FRIDAY-SUNDAY

HACK LIFE 2019 - Harvard's Premier BioHackathon

Join us as we host the 3rd annual Hack Life BioHackathon! Teams of undergraduates will compete to develop and present the best idea to fight climate change using the tools of biology. We have invited accomplished scientists and industry leaders to judge this event. Food is provided and prizes are awarded to the winning teams!

ABOUT US

Harvard iGEM':

Harvard’s premier community for biologically inspired engineering

MISSION

Harvard College iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) seeks to establish a community of creative synthetic biologists from a variety of disciplines and value earnest curiosity, courtesy, and contribution among our board and club members. We offer academic and social opportunities to understand research, conduct experiments, explore careers, and communicate ideas. 

 

The core of our club is in the iGEM team. iGEM is an international competition in the field of synthetic biology, with 5000+ teams from the world over conducting research into their own synthetic biology innovations. Teams from around the world do research over the summer and meet at the Giant Jamboree, the largest synbio conference in the world, to present their research. The Harvard College iGEM club manages and selects the Harvard team for the iGEM competition, but also has a growing presence on campus. 

Every year, we run a comp process that teaches interested undergraduates about synthetic biology concepts, ranging from base editors to logic gates to even math modeling. We combine both theory and practise via first giving lectures on our individual topics and then taking our members through a lab workshop, where they can apply their learning into real practise. On campus, we have our very own wet-lab space in the Pierce basement and in Northwest Labs, where students can access in order to bring their synthetic biology ideas to life.

 

For those would like to have a more intense experience outside the busy academic year, Harvard iGEM organizes the iGEM BioDesign Bootcamp. The bootcamp is a one-week immersive experience over Wintersession for undergraduates interested in the field of synthetic biology. Participants will gain both theory and hands-on lab experience through our teaching model of combining lecture, wet-lab, and journal club. The Bootcamp also acts as a recruitment tool for our team, and we highly suggest undergraduates (especially first-years) interested in the team to apply to the bootcamp in the fall. 

 

We also engage deeply with the Harvard and Cambridge communities through our industrial and educational outreach initiatives. For our educational outreach, we seek to inspire other schools to learn more about biology and to deepen their involvement with the iGEM competition by developing biology curriculums and by hosting science workshops with their students. For our industrial outreach, we seek to familiarize our compers with the opportunities presented by the vibrant Cambridge biotech community through various events, such as field trips to local synbio startups and speakers who are at the cutting edge of the field. These events are open to the general members of the Harvard and Cambridge community, with priority given to active club members.

BOARD

 

BIOHACKATHON

BIOHACKATHON

hack life 2019

Hack Life is Harvard iGEM's premier biohackathon, now in its third year. This event is meant to be open to people from all disciplines, regardless of experience with biology. Teams should ideally have a diverse profile of members, as this event will challenge your creativity. Please make sure you will be available during the weekend of June 28 - June 30. Food will be provided throughout the event (lunch/dinner Sat/Sun). 

TEAMS

You may choose to work with up to 4 other people. Make sure everyone on your team puts the names of all the people they wish to work with on the registration form. You may also choose to register by yourself, in which case, you will be added to a team. 

PRESENTATION

Although we don't expect a full product, the best teams will create some type of prototype (digitally or 3D). For example, teams using scientific or engineering approaches should include in their presentation a diagram of the constructs, organisms, and methods they might use. 

PROMPT

The prompt for this year's BioHackathon can be found on this page. We believe that any team will be able to come up with a unique, meaningful pitch, so don't worry too much about whether you have enough "experience" or "expertise" in biology/CS/engineering. 

DIFFERENT APPROACHES

Teams taking a social sciences approach should include diagrams, graphics, charts, or a 3D model (if applicable). However, they may digitally render it if they do not have the necessary materials available.

OPEN TO EVERYONE

Projects are not restricted to STEM approaches. Students from any academic background are encouraged to participate in the BioHackathon. Project pitches will then be presented to the track judges in lecture/presentation format on June 30. 

PITCHES

Project pitches will be judged based on creativity, presentation/delivery, scientific foundation, and market potential (as applies). Further questions during the BioHackathon may be directed to crimsonigem@gmail.com

 

JUDGES

Kevin grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area where he spent his free time playing basketball and badminton with his friends. During graduate school, he worked with Robert Tjian at UC Berkeley where he developed a method to detect novel protein-DNA interactions. He used this technique to identify RNA binding proteins that help regulate histone gene expression. Kevin is now focused on developing methods to efficiently isolate bacterial DNA from blood samples. He hopes his work will contribute to improving bacteremic patient outcomes and dampening the rampant overuse of antibiotics.

Dr. Viswanathan is a founding scientist and Director of Research at Visterra, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company. As a founding scientist, he helped establish the Hierotope™ platform at Visterra that has led to discovery and development of multiple therapeutics. He is an inventor of VIS410, an anti-influenza A antibody currently in phase II clinical trials and VIS513, a cross-serotype neutralizing antibody against dengue that is in pre-clinical development. Prior to Visterra, Dr. Viswanathan was postdoctoral researcher at MIT. Dr. Viswanathan received his B. Tech from Indian Institute of Technology and Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Viswanathan is an inventor on over 20 patent and patent applications and has authored over 35 publications in top tiered journals including Science, Cell, New England journal of Medicine and Nature Biotechnology.

Jie Zhu is a biologist and foodie interested in food substitutes and biotechnology. She works with engineers and scientists to explore the secret of food ingredients and fasten the biology engineering. During her PhD at UC Riverside, she worked on metabolic engineering of yeast for aromatic esters production. After graduation, she did a summer internship at Amyris. She is currently Organism Engineer at Ginkgo Bioworks, an organism design company for customers across multiple markets.

Jia Liu, Ph.D.

Harvard SEAS

Assistant Prof. of Bioengineering

Dr. Jia Liu obtained his Ph.D., along with a short postdoctoral stay, with Prof. Charles M. Lieber at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University in 2014. He then performed his postdoctoral research on genetically-targeted bioelectronics and brain interface at Stanford University in 2015. Dr. Liu joined Harvard University as Assistant Professor in Bioengineering since 2019.

Kevin Tsui, Ph.D.

Day Zero Diagnostics

Senior Research Scientist

Karthik Viswanathan, Ph.D.

Visterra Inc.

Director of Research

Jie Zhu, Ph.D.

Ginkgo Bioworks

Organism Engineer

SUPPORTERS

Day Zero Diagnostics

Day Zero Diagnostics is developing rapid, whole genome sequencing-based diagnostics to modernize infectious disease diagnosis and treatment. They are generously sponsoring the $500 Day Zero Dx Grand Prize for this BioHackathon.

Ginkgo Bioworks

Ginkgo's designs custom microbes for customers across multiple markets. They build their foundries to scale the process of organism engineering using software and hardware automation. Organism engineers at Ginkgo learn from nature to develop new organisms that replace technology with biology.

Visterra Inc.

Visterra Inc. is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on applying its novel Hierotope platform to identify unique disease targets and to design and engineer precision antibody-based biological medicines against such targets that are not adequately addressed with conventional approaches.

Additional Sponsors and Acknowledgements 

Hack Life is made possible by Harvard SEAS and Harvard Undergraduate Research and Fellowships Office!

We would like to thank Neel Joshi, Jessa Piaia, Rachel DeLucas, and Keith Karasek at SEAS for helping iGEM host the BioHackathon.

We'd also like to extend special thanks to Greg Llacer, Chris Kabacinski, and Chris Li at URAF for allowing us to hold our BioHackathon in the heart of the summer undergraduate Research Village at Harvard College.

Thanks also to our awesome iGEM board and club members who have made this idea into reality! 

 

Harvard iGEM

Harvard College iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) seeks to establish a community of creative synthetic biologists from a variety of disciplines and value earnest curiosity, courtesy, and contribution among our board and club members. We offer academic and social opportunities to understand research, conduct experiments, explore careers, and communicate ideas. 
 

On campus, we have our very own wet-lab space in the Pierce basement. Interested students may comp the club to gain access to the lab. Members may then submit grant proposals to the board for their own synbio projects, or join another member's project. The lab also serves as an educational experience and we encourage those who wish to have more hands-on experience to join the the club. 

 

For those would like to have a more intense experience outside the busy academic year, Harvard iGEM organizes the iGEM BioDesign Bootcamp. The bootcamp is a one-week immersive experience over Wintersession for undergraduates interested in the field of synthetic biology. Participants will gain both theory and hands-on lab experience. The Bootcamp also acts as a recruitment tool for our team, and we highly suggest undergraduates (especially freshmen) interested in the team to apply to the bootcamp in the fall. 

 

The club also hosts events such as field trips to local synbio startups and speakers who are at the cutting edge of the field. These events are open to the general members of the Harvard and Cambridge community, with priority given to active club members.

Regarding competitive team: iGEM is an international competition in the field of synthetic biology. Teams from around the world do research over the summer and meet at the Giant Jamboree, the largest synbio conference in the world, to present their research. The Harvard College iGEM club manages and selects the Harvard team for the iGEM competition, but also has a growing presence on campus. 

 

contact.