‘To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life.’
This is Wageningen University & Research's mission. We are a research institution that focuses on the domain ‘healthy food and living conditions’. We do not just develop top-quality expertise; we also help translate our knowledge into practice worldwide. Support our projects and contribute to the quality of life.
This year 10 motivated students from Wageningen University & Research are participating in the iGEM competition. In this competition hundreds of student teams strive to solve real-world problems using synthetic biology. The competition builds up to the Giant Jamboree at MIT in Boston, where all the teams come together to present their projects, build international contacts and have a good time! This years’ Wageningen University & Research iGEM team will design a diagnostic tool for detecting neglected tropical diseases.
Currently, millions of people are still at risk of tropical diseases, most prominently in undeveloped countries. Examples of these diseases are African Sleeping Sickness, caused by the protozoa Trypanosoma brucei and Zika Fever, caused by the Zika virus. For most tropical diseases treatments are available, but proper diagnosis often is late or is completely lacking. As a consequence these diseases might pose an unnecessary burden to the patient's health, or even result in death that could have easily been prevented. At the moment, there are diagnostics available, but these either require expensive equipment and well-trained personnel, both of which are lacking, or the specificity of the diagnostic is insufficient. On top of this, the available diagnostics often do not reach the people that need them. Mobile field teams often need to drive hours away from populated areas, where they perform field test. Thus, a rapid and reliable on-site diagnostic is needed to screen patients and give them proper treatment when necessary.
The Wageningen University & Research iGEM team aims to create a diagnostic tool to screen for tropical diseases according to these needs. A living bacterial system will be used to detect disease markers in a blood sample, and create a visual signal when these markers are present. This signal can be seen by using UV-light. Aside of creating this bacterial system, we will design and 3D-print a handheld device in which samples can be tested. This way, we create a rapid and sensitive diagnostic tool which can easily be taken into the field as it doesn’t require expensive equipment.
In order to succeed during our project, the Wageningen University has supplied laboratory space for us. However, we need funds to buy materials for our experiments, outreach and human practices. In total, we need a budget of €30000 to cover all the costs of the project. Therefore we are looking for sponsors to support us financially which would greatly help us forward in our project and the iGEM competition.
*You will receive rewards from the level to which your donation belongs, as well as the rewards from the levels below.
**Rewards will be shipped to contributors in the Netherlands, we will contact foreign contributors about shipping costs.
***Rewards will be shipped after the end of the projects, so do not worry if your rewards take a long time to arrive!
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