<!DOCTYPE html> Gowanus SuperFUNd - Genspace iGEM 2015

The Gowanus Canal is a heavily polluted waterway that runs through Brooklyn NY. A designated superfund site, it is slated for cleanup but nearby residents are concerned about the results. Our team is developing a biosensor for waste pollution, giving the community real time access to data on the health of the canal. Additionally we have mined the canal for extremophiles with interesting properties.


The Genspace 2015 iGEM Team has fulfilled all Bronze, Silver and Gold Medal Criteria

Requirements for a Bronze Medal:

Registered the team, had a great summer, and will have fun at the Giant Jamboree.

Successfully completed and submitted the iGEM 2015 Judging form.

Created and shared a Description of the team's project using the iGEM wiki, and documented the team's parts using the Registry of Standard Biological Parts.

Will present a Poster and Talk at the iGEM Jamboree.

Created a page on our team wiki with clear attribution of each aspect of our project. See

Interacted with our community by creating several engaging activities showcasing iGEM, synthetic biology and community labs, including public engagement at the New York Hall of Science and a presentation/public discussion with members of the Gowanus Canal Conservancy. See

Additional Requirements for a Silver Medal:

Helped a registered iGEM team from another institution in a significant way by characterizing an mCherry-based reporter system for the UGA-Georgia team. We also helped several other teams (University of Michigan, Paris-Bettencourt, Cooper Union and Columbia University) in different ways. See

Demonstrated a functional prototype of our project. We tested a prototype biosensor for human waste (submitted Part:BBa_K1799019). We showed this system works under real-world conditions simulated in the lab by addition of HSL to the cultures. See:

iGEM projects involve important questions beyond the bench, for example relating to (but not limited to) ethics, sustainability, social justice, safety, security, and intellectual property rights. Our team identified, investigated and addressed the unique security issues presented by deploying a biosensor along a public waterway in the city that experienced the 911 attacks. See

Additional Requirements for a Gold Medal:

 We expanded on our silver medal Human Practices activity by integrating the investigated issues into the design and/or execution of your project. See

We have documented a new standard BioBrick Device central to our project and submitted this part to the iGEM Registry.We have also documented a new application of a BioBrick part from a previous iGEM year, since the Device was made up of two parts previously submitted to the Registry. We have added that documentation to the parts’ main pages. See

Part Numbers:Part:BBa_K1799019, Part:BBa_C0062, Part:BBa_I732005

We improved a part submitted by a previous year iGEM team. The pLsrA promoter Part:BBa_K117002  submitted in 2008 by team NTU-Singapore was reported not to work by the Tokyo Tech team in 2011, and the DNA was reported to not be what was documented in the registry. We synthesized the corrected part, added it to registry as Part Bba_K1799000 , and showed that it works, documenting this in the registry pages of both BBa_K117002 and Bba_K1799000. See

Part Numbers:Bba_K1799000, BBa_K117002

 We have experimentally validated that two BioBrick Parts of our own design and construction work as expected. We have documented the characterization of these parts in the Main Page section of the Registry entry for that Part/Device. These working parts are different from the part documented in Gold medal criterion #2.


Part Numbers:Part:BBa_K1799000, Part:BBa_K1799002


A very special thanks to:

  • Dr. Tom Knight

  • Mr. and Mrs. Giddins

  • Rachel Young

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