METU-Turkey Team won the gold medal with their project “Bee Subtilis” at iGEM European Championship held between 11-13 October 2013 in Lyon, France. The team is advised by Assoc. Prof. Zeynep Işıl Kalaylıoğlu from ODTÜ Department of Statistics and Assoc. Prof. Meral Kence from the Department of Biological Sciences. Team coordinator is Assoc. Prof. Mesut Muyan, also from the Department of Biological Sciences.
Consisting of Side Selin Su Yirmibeşoğlu, Oğuz Bolgi, Özgün Kırdar, Emre İlpars, Buse İşbilir, Ekin Sağlıcan, Batuhan Elçin, Gürkan Akan, Aykal Refik Aşkın, Şeniz Yüksel, Burak Kızıl, Müge Sak, Bilge Büyükdemirtaş, Mehmet Nizamoğlu, Hakan Taşkıran, Begüm Ece Tohumcu, Samet Albayrak, İlkem Kumru, Uğurcan Sakızlı, Irmak Subaşı and Ayşegül Dede, ODTÜ iGEM 2013 Team developed a project aiming to prevent the loss and death of bee colonies, which are essential to pollenization, following the failure of their defense mechanism due to feeding on pesticide chemicals and unnourishing foods. With a biological system regulated by using the bacteria in bees' stomach, METU-Turkey Team attempted to make bees resistant to chemicals. They also designed a secondary system which produces a natural nutrient -which is not added to their food due to its high cost- in bees' stomach, with an additional system to ensure that this bacteria does not stay alive outside the bee.
iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machines) is an interdisciplinary synthetic biology competition, first organized in 2004 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Synthetic biology is a branch of science that allows genetic modifications in living things with the use of molecular biology and genetic methods. Undergraduate and graduate students compete in teams in this event which aims to transfer the characteristics of various living things to single-cell organisms so as to develop optimal solution systems to the problems of our day. In the first year of the competition, participants were 5 teams and projects from the same university. Soon starting to attract more teams from reputable universities worldwide, the competition adopted a two-phase structure in 2011. A total of 165 teams competed in 2011 in three regional championships and one grand final. This was followed in 2012 by the entrance of 190 teams in five regional championships and the grand final. ODTÜ students have been competing in iGEM since 2007 and have successfully brought back home a total of 1 gold, 3 silver and 4 bronze medals with their projects. In 2013, the competition attracted 204 teams, 59 of which entered the European Championship.