Harvard iGEM':

Harvard’s premier community for biologically inspired engineering


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.