Competition/Tracks/High School

High School Track

High school teams participate in iGEM as part of the main competition. This is an exciting opportunity for high school members: not only will they be able to compete against other high schools, but they will have the great experience of the Giant Jamboree. High school teams will be responsible for the same registration fees and Jamboree fees as the collegiate teams and therefore the same timeline, deadlines and attendance dates as the collegiate teams.

High School is a team "kind", section, and track. It is important to understand these distinctions.

High School as a team "kind"

During registration, high school teams should register as a high school team "kind". This will make it easier for high school teams to follow both the general team registration requirements and the additional registration requirements for high school. Your team profile page will reflect the status of the consent forms needed for registration, and help you keep track of which items have been submitted and which items are still pending.

High School as a section

There are three sections in iGEM 2019:

  • Undergraduate
  • Overgraduate
  • High School

Each of these sections will be evaluated for a set of Special Prizes. Please note that teams will still need to meet a minimum threshold for a prize to be awarded. As a section, High School teams are eligible for the High School Grand Prize, similar to the Undergraduate Grand Prize, and Overgraduate Grand Prize.

High School as a track

Due to the experimental nature of high school in iGEM, HS teams participate in the competition in the High School track. Although they will not be able to officially choose an additional project track (e.g. energy, environment, etc.), high school teams are welcome to work on a project in one of the track subject areas. As always, teams are encouraged to work on a topic they're passionate about.

High school teams conduct impressive work. See below for examples from 2015 and 2016!

Example Projects


Biosensor for Toxin in Chinese Herb Medicine

Adulteration of heavy metal and toxin during manufacturing process has always been a concern to Chinese Medicine consumers. Although there are a few methods (for example: ICP-MS) to detect these harmful substances, the procedures often turn out to be expensive and inconvenient to most people. If the danger in herbs continues to cast shadows among people, it is only a matter of time that people stop eating Chinese Medicine and soon this important Chinese culture might be gone forever. Thus, we decide to create a series of cheap, user-friendly E. coli biosensor. When the bacteria detect certain poison in the medicine, they will produce fluorescence protein. That way, we can detect the poison inside the Chinese Medicine by just examining the fluorescence intensity. With this new design and aspect, we hope to see people regaining hope in this tradition, yet, this distinctive culture.

TAS_Taipei 2015

To Granzyme B or Not to Granzyme B: Protecting Extracellular Matrix Proteins

Granzyme B is a serine protease that is an essential part of the immune system. In response to inflammation or tumors, Granzyme B is overexpressed and enters target cells to induce apoptosis. However, high levels of Granzyme B also result in random cleavage of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins, such as elastin and decorin, which help to maintain tissue structure and elasticity. Our team has constructed a system that inhibits Granzyme B activity in the ECM without affecting its intracellular functions. In humans, Antichymotrypsin (ACT) is an extracellular protease inhibitor, which we have modified to allow for Granzyme B inhibition. Of the many diseases associated with ECM degradation, we focus on preventing damage from both arthritis and prolonged wound healing. We've engineered a semipermeable bandage to deliver the Granzyme B inhibitor topically without bacterial contamination. Our system is capable of maintaining a healthy immune system response while protecting ECM proteins.