BioBuilders win award in synthetic biology. Photo: DTU

DTU students win award in synthetic biology

Wednesday 27 Nov 19


Christopher Workman
Associate Professor
DTU Bioengineering
+45 45 25 27 00


Henrik Toft Simonsen
Associate Professor
DTU Bioengineering

Blue Dot projects

DTU’s Blue Dot projects are student-driven undertakings that cross boundaries between study programmes, semesters and departments. Blue Dot projects are to produce sustainable solutions, and they make high demands on the participants because they run alongside the ordinary teaching schedule.
It must be possible to use the results from the projects in practice and present them at an engineering competition or similar, for example. The projects are run in close contact with the business community or other relevant stakeholders—both internal and external.

Learn more about Blue Dot Projects and other student Projects at DTU.

DTU Biobuilders receives a gold medal and a special award for 'Best Software Tool' in the global biotech competition iGEM.

DTU students have received their highest ranking so far at the annual international synthetic biology competition iGEM for their project that designed and tested synthetic DNA promoters, the pieces of DNA that control the output of genes. They were awarded Best Software Tool for their development of a tool that can provide quick access to these important DNA control elements in cells. The hope is that this software tool can be used to design new cell factories based on fungi used in industrial production.

“The special award puts the DTU Biobiobuilder team amongst the best teams in the international competition. It is a great recognition of the potential of the approach the team has developed,” says Associate Professor at DTU Bioengineering Christopher Workman, who is a supervisor of the Biobuilders project.

Fills a gap

The development of the software fills a gap in the supply of digital libraries of promoters that already exist for bacteria and organisms such as yeast and mammalian cells. By developing a software for fungal promoters, students connect to the market for enzymes, where fungi are responsible for 50 percent of all industrially produced enzymes and 10 percent of all known bioactive compounds.

"The special award puts the DTU Biobiobuilder team amongst the best teams in the international competition."
Christopher Workman, Associate Professor at DTU Bioengineering.

DTU Biobuilders won the special prize for best software tool in competition with 350 teams from all over the world. Christopher Workman believes that the project is so promising that it must be further developed to realize its full impact.

Blue Dot project

Biobuilders is a DTU Blue Dot project, where students across semesters and study programs work on an bioengineering problem that goes far beyond the normal study curriculum. Blue Dot projects work towards sustainable solutions and are presented at an engineering competition or similar event. The process is in close contact with business or other relevant external or internal stakeholders. Biobuilders and the other Blue Dot projects are very demanding for the participants because they take place in parallel with normal course work.  



The International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to education and the advancement of synthetic biology through the organization of an international competition based on an open community and collaboration.
iGEM Foundation runs two main programs: the iGEM Competition - an international team competition made up of predominantly undergraduate students interested in the field of synthetic biology; and the Registry of Standard Biological Parts - a growing collection of genetic parts use for building biological devices and systems.
iGEM began in January 2003 as an independent study course at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where students developed biological devices to make cells blink. This course became a summer competition with 5 teams in 2004. In 2019 it has expanded to 350 teams, reaching more than 40 countries.