Gold medal in the team of AUTh “iGEM Thessaloniki” – Created a tool for the early detection of pancreatic cancer

One of the gold medals of the World Competition of Synthetic Biology “iGEM 2021” was won by the student team of AUTh “iGEM Thessaloniki”.

352 research teams from leading universities (MIT, Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard, etc.) from 40 countries participated in the World Competition. The rating was made by 152 judges of world renown.

The results of the World Competition were announced yesterday, Sunday 14 November 2021, in the afternoon. The team has achieved and receives distinctions in each of its participations in the World Competition, as in 2017 it won the gold medal, in 2018 it won the silver medal and in 2019 the gold medal.

The student team participated in the World Competition of Synthetic Biology, with the innovative project “METIS” (MiRNA Expression Toehold Investigation System), a cheap, fast and accurate diagnostic tool for the early detection of pancreatic cancer in the early stages and can be used the diagnostic laboratories. The aim of the team is to provide a solution to a major problem that is currently emerging in clinical practice and is the inability of diagnostic methods to detect the presence of pancreatic cancer in a timely manner that leads to failed treatment approaches and ultimately a high mortality rate.

Based on the implementation and impact of the project on society, the prospects it has to solve a global problem and of course its design and implementation, the iGEM Thessaloniki team had received from the jury of the Competition, the prize-grant of 2.500 dollars to continue its work. Also, the team had presented the project in front of Greek investors and won the 1st prize in the idea stage in the Entrepreneurship Competition “Next Stage Challenge” and the cash prize of 4.000 euros, in the final phase of the Competition held in Alexandria Innovation Zone, on 16 / 9/2021.

The Scientific Officer of the “iGEM Thessaloniki 2021” Team, Associate Professor of the Department of Pharmacy of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Ioannis S. Vizirianakis, underlined that “it was a painstaking effort of high degree of innovation and interdisciplinarity, where “To succeed throughout its course, both in terms of idea, organization, execution, management and promotion, but also in the final goal that is reflected in the awarding of the gold medal in the final competition.”

The eleven-member team consists of the undergraduate students of the Department of Pharmacy of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Charalambos Anagnostaki, Danai-Eleni Vergini, Maria Kosmidou, Konstantina Tsouderou, the Department of Physics of AUTh Dimitris Trygoniaris and the Department of Electrical Engineering , of the Department of Chemistry of AUTh Emmanouil Hadjichristofi, of the Department of Informatics of AUTh Panagiotis Valatsos, and of the Department of Biology of AUTh, Anastasia Theodosiadou. Also in the group participates the graduate of the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics of DUTH Anna Anastasiou.

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