Undergraduates win Gold Award in the global finals of iGEM

ON2023-11-16TAG: ShanghaiTech UniversityCATEGORY: Global

The global finals of the International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition (iGEM) 2023 came to an end on November 5. The ShanghaiTech team, “ShanghaiTech-China”, won the Gold Award for their project—LAMPS (Luminous Algae Material Presenting System)—a sustainable light source with an advanced design. This project was also named as one of the Top 10 Undergrad (the world’s top 10 undergraduate teams), awarded the Best Wiki (best web page) award, the Best Climate Crisis Project Nomination, and the Best Presentation Nomination.


In the project LAMPS, the team injected clusters of phosphorescence genes from marine microbes into algae to emit blue light, and they also modified the metabolic pathway of algae to improve the luminous intensity of the blue light, thus creating a new sustainable, low-carbon, environmentally friendly, 100% degradable biological light source that can store energy and emit light through photosynthesis. At the same time, the project also uses bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET) technology to convert blue phosphorescence into other colors of fluorescence. Furthermore, the students also regulated the expression of light-emitting genes through the circadian rhythm of the algae itself to achieve “automatic control” of the light.

The shematic of the modification of metabolic pathway of algae

The team hopes to replace some traditional lighting with LAMPS products to reduce the pollution generated in the process of production, maintenance and disposal of traditional lighting. In addition, because of the extremely high photosynthetic efficiency of algae, LAMPS has the potential to reduce carbon emissions, promote carbon neutrality, and contribute to the protection of the human living environment.

Blue light emitted by LAMPS

This year, the ShanghaiTech team consisted of 24 undergraduate students from five schools, and was instructed by four faculty members from different academic departments. Notably, there was one student from SEM participating in iGEM for the first time. In addition, five students who participated in iGEM in the previous two years acted as the competition advisors for the team.


Huang Zhejing was the iGEM participating student from SEM, and her role was to facilitate a good performance in the engagement of human practices which was also one of the grading points.


Huang Zhejing

“We didn’t get the nomination for Best Human Practices although we had great hopes. It made me very depressed since I made real effort in making a ‘business plan’ for our project. But after watching other teams’ human practices engagement, there is indeed much room for our project to improve in this aspect. I enjoyed the process of discussing our project with students from different majors, and my major in management science has provided me a broad platform and opportunity to form a new insight, review myself, and improve my management ability. Thanks to iGEM for giving me such a unique experience!”


During the year-long process of project design, the students discussed together how to work out the best solution to practical problems, and cultivated team spirit. The schools provided support and resources to the students to help them find solutions to the problems, as well as actively promoting close cooperation with their academic mentors.


ShanghaiTech’s undergraduate education modefree exploration by students, plus whole-process guidance by professors, plus full support from academic departmentscan enable students to be proactive in the projects to the largest extent so that more and more ShanghaiTech students will benefit from this education mode and achieve good results in future competitions.


Below is the list of the team members and student advisory members.


Class of 2025:

Cao Shenxi, Jia Menghan, Sun Haoran, Wang Shubai

Class of 2026:

Chen Keyu, Fang Xiaojing, Hu Jinglin, Jin Yiwen, Liu Qizhen, Liu Siyun, LüLeyan, Qian Yingxi, Wang Haoyu, Wang Yueying, Xu Liang



Class of 2025:

Ding Qihan, Huang Yihang, Li Chaofan

Class of 2026:

Qin Chao



Class of 2025:

Du Chenchen, Lu Shenhuan, Luo Yutong



Class of 2026:

Lai Xinyao



Class of 2026:

Huang Zhejing


Advisory members from the team in 2022: Wang Kaijun, Xin Qi, Zhang Yunan

Advisory members from the team in 2021: Ding Shiyue, Su Ru

Click here to know more about the team’s project.