iGEM Oxford 2016 - Cure for Copper

Most of the team at our banner at the Jamboree

Our project was awarded a GOLD medal at the 2016 Jamboree.
We were nominated for: Best Therapeutic Project,
Best Wiki, Best Presentation and
Best Education & Public Engagement!

  • Developed an initial proof of concept for a Wilson’s Disease therapeutic as an alternative to current treatments, which have problems associated with their cost, side-effects and high dosage frequency.
  • We added 13 new BioBrick parts to the iGEM registry. Check our parts page for more information.
  • We investigated several different promoters and two different copper chelators with the aim of finding the most effective system.
  • We successfully designed composite parts with a copper chelator under control of a copper-sensitive promoter. Check out our results page for more information.
  • Discussions with the wider community played a major role in our project. We spoke to doctors and patients about Wilson’s Disease and used their feedback to guide our project. Check out our Human Practices Hub for more information.


Register for iGEM, have a great summer, and attend the Giant Jamboree.

We’re ready for Boston in every way after the summer of our lives. Counting down the days to the Giant Jamboree!

Meet all deliverables on the Requirements page

All submitted with love and hard work. Our judging form is here.

Create a page on your team wiki with clear attribution of each aspect of your project.

We have many to thank and you can find out about them here.

Document at least one new standard BioBrick Part or Device central to your project and submit this part to the iGEM Registry.

BBa_K1980000 and BBa_K1980001 are both are new to the Registry. Find out more about them on our Parts page.


Experimentally validate that at least one new BioBrick Part or Device of your own design and construction works as expected.

BBa_K1980003, BBa_K1980005, BBa_K1980007, BBa_K1980008 and BBa_K1980012 work as expected, hooray! See more information here.

Convince the judges you have helped any registered iGEM team from high school, a different track, another university, or another institution in a significant way.

We carried out all of the modelling for the Vilnius-Lithuania iGEM team, which can be seen on their wiki. Additionally, we carried out a joint survey with the team, who have also been investigating a potential probiotic therapeutic, to investigate the perspectives of different cultures to probiotics and their application.

We sent XMU China parts generated by last year’s Oxford iGEM team that they had been unable to acquire themselves.

We also completed and shared the surveys of various teams!

You can find out more about our collaborations here.

Demonstrate how your team has identified, investigated and addressed one or more questions relating to human practices.

There are ethical and safety concerns regarding the use of a probiotic therapeutic. We discussed these issues with the Professor of Health, Law and Policy: Jane Kaye. Following her advice, we went to the public to discover their concerns. This acted as a springboard for our ethics and safety research.

Throughout the project we aimed to educate and engage the public on a local, national and international level!

We also heavily integrated discussions with patients and doctors into our design.

Find out more here!


Integrate the human practice issues into the design and/or execution of your project.

From inception to execution, our Human Practice work has continually shaped our project. In creating a probiotic therapeutic, the opinions and thoughts of the public have continually been of huge importance, influencing the development of the project with regards to safety and ethics. However, our major concern was ensuring that our design met the needs and desires of Wilson’s Disease sufferers, to see how we integrated these discussions into our design, click here.

Improve the function/characterisation of an existing BioBrick Part or Device.

We have improved the function and characterisation of BBa_I760005, BBa_K190020, and BBa_K1758324. Click here to see how!

Demonstrate a functional proof of concept.

A key goal of our project was to produce a functional proof of concept: demonstrating that at least one of our promoter-driven devices was sensitive to copper, and that the addition of copper to a bacterial population containing this device would induce a measurable amount of protein expression. To see how we achieved this, click here!