Dec 05, 2019 | Judy Cooper This year, UAH formed the first-ever iGEM team from the state of Alabama. iGEM is an international genetic engineering machine competition hosted this year from October 31st to November 4th in Boston, MA. Undergraduate students Joseph Noble, JP Henry, and Sharee Riggs, along with graduate student Jonathan Kilroy and UAH alumnus Emily Hartsell, traveled to Boston to present their genetic engineering research project: Cosmicoli. The goal of this project is to engineer a radiotolerant strain of E. coli using tardigrade proteins for better use in space-based research. Although the team only had preliminary results, we impressed the judges at the competition and were awarded a bronze medal - an impressive feat for a first-year team. The team partnered with the brand-new team from the University of Alabama to share hotel rooms and coordinate travel. While at the conference, they had the chance to meet team from around the globe, and meet new collaboration partners from the US, Canada, and Brazil. They saw incredible research on such topics as fighting plant pathogens, creating an astropharmacy for Mars missions, synthesizing spider silk on a large scale, and engineering biological solar panels. It was a great experience, and the team is excited to begin working towards the 2020 competition!