Our History:


Inception from the Institute of Global Leadership
Tufts Synthetic Biology’s origins begin with IGL Director Sherman Teichman and Petar Todorov’s (A’14) visit to the Whitehead Institute during the 2012 Whitehead Annual Colloquium. A serendipitous meeting with IGL Board Member Juan Enriquez (who had spoken to the EPIIC class) led to Petar learning that the iGEM annual competition was happening next door at MIT. Seeing undergraduates pushing the boundaries of genetic modification and driving the development of this new field, Petar was excited to bring the intellectual vigor and curiosity to Tufts where other students including Chris Ghadban, soon joined the effort. Petar Todorov and Christopher Ghadban subsequently founded the Tufts iGEM team, which would later come to be known as Tufts Synthetic Biology.

Fall 2012:
● Petar Todorov A’14 attends the Whitehead Annual Colloquium with IGL
● Petar enlists the help of Christopher Ghadban E’14 to found Tufts iGEM
● Dr. David Walt serves as team’s advisor
Spring 2013:
● Founding directors enlist the help of 5-10 students to develop project proposals
● Team designs mechanism for predatory bacteria Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus to create fluorescing attack, insertion, and digestion of gram-negative bacteria
● Team receives $19,493 from TCU Senate as sub-group of AICHE
● Dr. Juliet Fuhrman secures lab space for team in Barnum
Summer 2013:
● Team carries out research on Bdellovibrio bacteriovous in Barnum 001
● Michael Zalesne and Chris Ghadban develop Student Class in Experimental College Foray into Synthetic Biology
● Dr. Nikhil Nair becomes Faculty Advisor to the Team
Fall 2013:
● Foray into Synthetic Biology is taught in the ExCollege
o Course consists of lecture series from professors and workers in industry
o Students research and design projects for next year
● Petar and Chris attend a regional iGEM conference in Canada
Spring 2014:
● After careful review by professors, the team proceeds with two projects:
● Team holds luncheon bringing together various departments for the first time o Riboswitch / Biofilm engineering
o Synthetic Antibodies
o Biology, Chemistry, ChBE, IGL, Legal, Library, and Corporate and Foundation Relations
o TSB secures Barnum 200 Lab Space for the summer
● Team received a €5000 grant from Synenergene to investigate the Bioethics of Bacteriophage Therapy and use in research
● Team re-brands as Tufts Synthetic Biology
Summer 2014:
● Team performs research on both projects
● Two BioBricks are submitted by Connor McBrine to iGEM
● Denali Rao creates a website for TSB and a wiki for the iGEM competition
Fall 2014:
● TSB hosts The Future of Phage and Synthetic Biology conference
o Experts from the Tufts community and Boston area gather to discuss the implications of phage therapy and propose regulations
● TSB wins gold medal for work in the Health and Medicine track at iGEM competition
● Dana 124 becomes year-round Lab Space for TSB
● Peter Cavanagh begins lecture series of prominent research Professors from Tufts ● Team expands from 10 to 25 members
● Two projects are developed:
o Rational design of protein inhibitors to treat Eosinophilic Esophagitis and Allergic Asthma
o Novel delivery system for CRISPR/Cas9 via a bacterial toxin
● TSB begins partnership with Tufts Institute for Innovation
Spring 2015:
● Biology department creates course for TSB under instruction of Dr. Kate Mirkin and Dr. Nair
● TII provides SynBio lab space on Boston campus
● High school outreach begins with AP tutoring

Future Directions:
● Carry out both ongoing research projects over the next year
● Work with TII to see our research applied and translated to impact the world
● Design new projects and continue to innovate and expand team and research
● Bioethics conferences
● Big Data, Synthetic Biology, and the Human Genome
● High school outreach: teaching techniques and research
● Computational modeling of systems biology
● Partnership with the Boston Museum of Science
o Michaela Gold set to take charge of the course