International students' blog – LTH

Engineering, Architecture and Industrial Design students write about life at the Faculty of Engineering LTH

iGEM Advanced Course During the Summer

Hello everyone! I would like to welcome you to Lund University.
My name is Mateusz and I am the programme ambassador for the MSc Biotechnology in the upcoming academic year. Feel free to ask me anything related to the programme, courses or just student life in Lund. Contact me via email

Today, I would like to tell you something about advanced courses and how mine is quite unusual.

So what is an advanced course? It is basically a project course worth 15 CP, where you work on a specific topic for around 10 weeks under a supervision of one of researchers at LTH. The final result of an advanced course usually is a written report and a presentation. However, everything the topic, the goals and the requirements for a passing grade are discussed with the supervisor before you start. You can take it during any study period or like me, during the summer.

What is special about my advanced course? My advanced course is a part of a worldwide iGEM competition that is focused on synthetic biology. In short, interdisciplinary teams of students from many universities around the world compete against each other to design the best genetically engineered machine! Our team consists of eleven people studying biotechnology, nanoscience, mathematics, physics and biomedical engineering. The aim of our team is to engineer a genetically modified probiotic that can be used to deaccumulate toxic metals from our bodies!
To sum it up, my advanced course is done in a quite big group of students, we started in February and will finish in November (we will present our project in Boston) and it is a competition… (but in reality it feels like we are one big family with the other teams ๐Ÿ™‚ ).

The lab part of iGEM

How did I become a part of the team? Last year, in December, I went to a lunch lecture that explained iGEM to LTH students. There, I received all the necessary information about the competition, last yearโ€™s participants experience and the application process. I decided to apply and after several weeks I was invited to an interview and then I was notified that I was one of the lucky few who got selected!

How is my experience so far? I learned a lot about synthetic biology, experimental design and some other valuable things. However, one of the most important things that happens to you during iGEM is networking. You travel to other universities in different countries for workshops, hackathons and conferences. You meet a lot of people from many countries, all with their own specific interests, some of them are researchers, businessmen and some are fellow students, just like you.

Working hard in the lab ๐Ÿ™‚

While the summer is slowly going to an end, we are currently focused on the experiments in the lab, which can be a lot of fun but also a lot of work. As we are closer to the finish line, I feel both excited and a little sad at the same time. Excited, because soon we will get to present our work in Boston and meet all these amazing people again but sad, because the whole iGEM experience slowly approaches the end.

I hope that you have had nice holidays before you arrival and are excited to get here soon. I look forward to meeting you soon here during our biotech fika where you will have opportunity to meet the oldies who were in exactly your position last year. See you soon!

12 August, 2019

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