Toronto/Team Name




BlueGenes is a student group at the University of Toronto with full club status recognized by the University of Toronto Students' Union (UTSU). Made up of full-time students in both undergraduate and graduate programs, we design and construct a genetic circuit for the annual iGEM Jamboree. The team is highly interdisciplinary, with many students from different science and engineering backgrounds. Under the guidance of Professor Stephen Davies, students volunteer their time during the summer and into the fall to prepare for the Jamboree.


The team is split into four subgroups: finance, design, lab, and presentation.

Finance: The finance group is responsible for finding sponsors to fund lab supplies (lab space has been generously donated by Prof. Davies) and costs associated with registering for and attending the Jamboree. This team also takes on the role of public relations, using both traditional and creative channels to boost the profile of the team.

Design: The design group works on developing project ideas into BioBrick circuits. It works closely with the lab group to determine how to efficiently the constructs can be made, and looks for alternatives if the lab team runs into major obstacles.

Lab: The lab group is further divided into simulation and construction. The simulation team draws up models and runs simulations in a dry lab setting, while the construction team works in the wet lab to turn the design into reality. Due to space and funding constraints, not all students who are interested in gaining lab experience are able to join the lab team; however, we have tried to maximize the opportunities available by having core and rotation positions. The core people oversee the construction process, and act as supervisors/trainers for those rotation people who are unfamiliar with biochemical lab techniques. Previous experience working in a lab is not a prerequisite to doing lab work with BlueGenes, and so teaching has become an integral part of working in the lab.

Presentation: The presentation group focuses on putting together the oral presentation and poster for the Jamboree, as well as taking care of the wiki. Integrating the theoretical framework provided by the design team and the results generated by the lab team, this group works to provide a clear and concise explanation of the project and the progress BlueGenes has made to their iGEM colleagues and the general public.


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A few (but not all) of our 2007 BlueGenes members. See our 2007 roster.

Why BlueGenes?

While sitting around in 2006, trying to come up with a name for the 2007 iGEM team, we went through a number of options. BlueGenes made the most sense, being short and rather catchy, and of course with a word pun attached.

However, the real selling point for this name was because of a particular University of Toronto tradition. Every school has its sports teams, usally named after animals (like beavers) or forces of nature (like hurricanes). While not everyone may want to be a Stompin' Cricket or some such thing, having this type of name results in an easily recognizable logo and mascot. The University of Toronto varsity sports teams are not named in this fashion; instead, UT varsity athletes are known as Varsity Blues. We're not a sports team (unless the International Olympic Committee decides to add micropipetting as an event), but we thought we would incorporate a little bit of history into our name. And it doesn't hurt that everybody likes jeans.