Special Programme in Science (SPS)

The National University of Singapore iGEM

About us

The NUS iGEM Team is comprised of 12 brilliant and creative undergraduate students motivated to save the world through Synthetic Biology. The team is comprised of 4 subteams: Wet Lab, Computational Modelling, Policy and Practices, and Business. The team works tirelessly throughout the school year and summer holidays to solve local and global problems related to medical applications, environmental concerns, and human and animal health. Since 2015, the Special Programme in Science (SPS) and the NUS Faculty of Science have sent a team every year representing NUS and Singapore.

The iGEM competition

The International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition is the premiere student competition in the field of Synthetic Biology, a new discipline of science that can be loosely described as a combination of biology, engineering, programming and product development. Every year, students from academic institutes all over the world form teams and work on a research project that aims to solve a real world problem using synthetic biology. Teams are given the opportunity to work on their research project in the wet lab, create applications and computer programs, document their work on a website and eventually communicate their project outcomes at the annual iGEM Giant Jamboree conference. Team members gain valuable skills through project execution, conference presentations and public outreach.

Current team members (NUS iGEM 2016)

Team NUS_Singapore. From Left to Right: Janice Darikho, Choi Yan Ru, Priyanka Kamath, Han Ziyin, Yeam Cheng Teng, Joseph Chan Man Yau, Keshiniy Madivannan, Ang Shi Hui, Wong Chi Yan and Corey Bryen Lingam.

Past team projects and achievements

Year Team Title Achievement
2015 SPSingapore Controlled missiles: Targeted treatment of tumors with engineered E. coli
2015 iGEM Team Webpage
Awarded Silver medal at 2015 international iGEM Giant Jamboree
2016 NUS_Singapore RIOT; Regulated Invasive Organism Targeting system for delivery of biomolecules in vivo
2016 iGEM Team Webpage
Awarded iGEM 2016 gold medal and nominated for best diagnostic project award

Participating in iGEM

The iGEM competition starts in mid-January each year when brain storming for new ideas, project planning, proposal writing and pitching for project funding take place. The project/biological system is constructed during April to September, with each member expected to contribute 6-8 hr per week during the semester and 25-30 hr per week during the summer holidays working on various aspects of the project. Attendance and the presentation of the project at the iGEM Giant Jamboree at the end of September or October is completely voluntarily and funding to support student travel is subjected to approval from the Science Dean's Office.

Reasons to join an iGEM team:

iGEM is a once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunity to be a part of an ambitious undergraduate team which develops a project from scratch to the final Giant Jamboree presentation. -- Initial project proposal writing, pitching of proposal to senior scientists and funding sources, planning and execution of wet/dry lab work, interacting with fellow scientists(-in-training) at the Jamboree conference-cum-showcase, materials acquisition, proposal writing, conference presentation...etc.

• NUS iGEM teams are student-led. From project conception to sourcing for reagents/genes/proteins, almost all aspects of the project will be handled by students, although SPS staff mentors and collaborators will provide help and expertise when consulted. This will differ from most UROPS/FYP research experiences, which tend to be more driven by a Principal Investigator (PI).

Interaction and collaboration of project with other (international) researchers and senior scientists. Team members also get to relate their research in terms of real-world relevance and applications, with the aim of solving real world problem and contribute to the synthetic biology community.

• Lastly, you need not have a biology background to participate (though interest is essential!). If you’re a NUS Faculty of Science student, take the chance to broaden your perspectives and learn new skills!


The NUS team is seeking enthusiastic and motivated applicants to push forth in the field of Synthetic Biology. Our team is made up of students from every batch of undergraduates from the Faculty of Science, NUS. From cloning in wet lab to pursuing business endeavors to organizing outreach events, bright passionate students make this team thrive. Applications will open via email around October each year.

Potential team members apply in October of the previous year and join the team in late December/early January:

• Early January to end February: Project brainstorming, proposal writing and training for new members (6-8 hrs./week).

• February to April: Start project (6-8 hrs./week).

• April to August (Summer holidays): On-campus project work (minimum 25+ hrs./week). All team members are expected to stay in Singapore over the summer holidays.

• End August to end Oct: Finish project and compete at iGEM Giant Jamboree in Boston, US (12-16 hrs./week).

Past team photo

Team SPSingapore 2015. First row, from left: Clarice Hong Kit Yee (fresh alumnus, Life Sciences), Yeo Xin Yi (Y4, Life Sciences), Hee Yan Ting (Y4, Life Sciences), Soong Yun Ting (Y3, Life Sciences). Second row, from left: Kenneth Lim Kun Ming (Y4, Computational Biology), Wong Chi Yan (Y3, Life Sciences), Tan Yi Han (Y4, Life Sciences), Adrian Tan Hong Ji (Y4, Life Sciences), Nguyen Duy (Y4, Life Sciences).


Strengthening Local iGEM Connection over a Lunch Discussion

Visit to NUS by the University of Hong Kong (HKU) iGEM team member

NUS iGEM Strengthens through International Collaboration with ETH Zurich Team

Inaugural Special Programme in Science Team Won Silver Medal at Prestigious International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) 2015 Giant Jamboree

Students in Synthetic Biology: Team SPSingapore wins a Silver iGEM medal

Genetic Engineering Workshop by SPS iGEM Team