Team:Charlottesville RS


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Team Charlottesville_RS

Official Team Profile



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Our team is currently pursuing two ideas, which we will choose between once we have more data on each.

1: Bed Bugs have become a major problem for hotel rooms, and homes around the world. In recent years, bed bugs have tended to become immune to previous methods used to dispose of them, leading to an influx of new research trying to find ways to eradicate them that are reliable and effective.

Our idea presents a solution to this problem, but in order to understand it, one must first understand the reproduction process of bed bugs. Bed Bugs reproduce by a process that is called traumatic insemination. Male bed bugs use their penes to stab female bed bugs, creating a wound which sometimes can lead to death, in order to reproduce. For this reason, grown females have air pockets that help them survive this method of reproduction. Male and nymph (juvenile) bed bugs do not have these air pockets.

In order for male and nymph bed bugs to avoid being victims of traumatic insemination, they have a pheromone that sends out a signal to other bed bugs that they are not viable targets for reproduction.

Our idea hinges upon using a protein receptor to prevent the expression of the pheromone in bed bugs, causing male bed bugs to mate with both other males and with nymphs, killing off the population that is not equipped to handle the violent reproductive process.

2: In Albemarle county, most of the waste water goes and is processed through the Moores Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP), which is managed by the Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority. Each year, the plant purchases 250,000 dollars worth of glycerin, which is then used as “food” for bacteria which degrade the other organic matter in the water.

The UVa iGEM team from 2008 created a part that, when added, enables E Coli to produce polyhydroxybutyrate, a biodegradable, bio-derived plastic. Our idea is to make a type of E Coli that produces this plastic, with a reporter which fluoresces when the bacteria is successfully producing.

The plant could then use this bacteria to create polyhydroxybutyrate, filter out the E Coli, and then use the plastic as an alternative food source for their bacteria, saving them 250,000 dollars per year, as well as giving them a renewable energy source for their plant.


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Team Members

John Grammer

I am a senior at the Renaissance School. I am currently planning on attending George Mason University in 2015. My main interests are video games, and geospatial tech. I like cats, and currently own one, whose name is Liza. My academic interests are Math and Science, and I hope to pursue a career in geographic information sciences after college.

Nick Keen

I’m a sophomore at the Renaissance School. You may find me swimming for the CYAC team in Charlottesville, or reading at the local library. I enjoy playing video games and writing programs in Java script. I find engineering and chemistry are my forte, and iGEM gives me a unique opportunity to work with and strengthen my knowledge of chemistry, and engineering.

Alex Manchester

I am a junior at the Renaissance School. Although my primary interest is mathematics, I have immensely enjoyed preparing for this year’s iGEM competition. I want to go to the University of Chicago. I also play the piano and sing in the Shenandoah Valley Children’s Choir. You can often find me playing The Wiki Game and watching ViHart’s videos.

Jessica Prax

At the Renaissance School I am interested in biology and enjoy DNA Science class very much. I am currently volunteering at the local Hope Community Center for kids, and taking American Sign Language class at our local community college.

Lauren Ewell

Hey! I am a junior at the Renaissance School in Charlottesville VA. I have always loved science, but I have never done anything as interesting and complex as this IGEM competition. Outside of school, my hobbies are rock climbing, charity work, scuba diving, hiking, white water rafting, and eating. I am very excited to be apart of this amazing opportunity and learn more about genetic engineering everyday.

Alli Ambrosini

I’m a junior at the Renaissance School. I’m interested in going into forensic science after high school, and I’m currently learning how to sew! I really like moths, fog, and candy. I spend my spare time watching and caring for three cockroaches.

Bailey Fernandez

I am a junior at the Renaissance School in Charlottesville, VA. When I am not at school, I can be found playing bass and writing songs in my band, reading, and acting. While I am not usually involved with science, the IGEM competition is a unique opportunity and I am excited to be a part of it.

Anders Beaurline

I am a part of an IGEM team formed from our DNA science class here at Renaissance School. I am a junior and a member of the student government. I am currently doing an independent study project on hidden agendas in the media and visiting colleges all up and down the east coast. <forum_subtle />