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KU Leuven iGEM team wins Best New Application award at 2017 iGEM Giant Jamboree in Boston

23 November 2017

HEKcite, the project of KU Leuven's iGEM teams, wins the Best New Application award at the iGEM Giant Jamboree in Boston. The project hypothesized it would be possible to recreate a steady heartbeat-like rhythm in a non-excitable cell. It's the first time a Belgian team wins this award. Leuven MindGate is proud to be a sponsoring partner.

The project's main focus is establishing a new form of therapeutic drug monitoring. The studying of the model resulted in the discovery of three ion channels suited for the project. The next step was measuring the rhythm of our transfected cells as well as the influence certain drugs have on this rhythm.

With the results from the Patch Clamp showing indeed a change in frequency of the rhythm, the team started looking at the future; they started brainstorming about the theoretical design of their device. Further research brought the encapsulation method to light. The measurement of the rhythm in the human body would be done through a Multi-Electrode Array (MEA), as suggested by the nanotech company imec.

"Being here in itself was the best reward we can wish for, to be able to share our work and effort on such a prestigious platform, to so many respected scientists. But to win an entire track, now that was the cherry on top of the sundae. It was such a surreal feeling to see our name in the nominee list, let alone win it", students of the KU Leuven iGEM team mentioned ecstatically after winning the award.

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