Student Success

High school iGEM group to be recognized

Fresh off an impressive international performance, a group of Lethbridge and area high school students will be recognized by the University of Lethbridge today with $36,000 worth of scholarships ($1,000 per student).

The students, who want to take NASA Space Biosciences technology and use it to help reduce the affects of Type 1 Diabetes, recently came away from an international competition with an award for their research presentation. Six students from the 36-person University of Lethbridge High School iGEM (International Genetically-engineered Machines) team made their first trip to the Indianapolis, IN contest as the only Canadian contingent, and presented their take on how to use an innovative, implantable capsule (developed by NASA Space Biosciences to release medication in space) to manage the release of insulin for people with Type 1 Diabetes.

The group plans to engineer a bacteria that will secrete insulin in response to a person's glucose levels, then house it in the NASA biocapsule (so it is contained and not flowing freely in the bloodstream) where it will safely dispense insulin and could reduce the need for the continuous monitoring, injections and other challenges currently experienced by the hundreds of millions of people worldwide affected by diabetes.

Bold? Absolutely. Can it be done? That's what the group intends to find out.

That's why the U of L is rewarding them with scholarships – to help them pursue their interest in science and research at the U of L. The $1,000 scholarship credit per student covers the cost of about two courses, and is available upon their successful application and acceptance to the University.

The students will be presented with their awards at a brief ceremony that takes place Wednesday, July 11 beginning at 4 p.m. in Anderson Hall, room AH100 ( Andy's Place).