PacificU-Oregon 2015

Creators of Sclerotite


We are a duo of students experimenting with the use of insect cuticular proteins as a biological replacement for concrete and some plastics. This has been an ongoing project, and will continue after iGEM 2015 is complete.

Since there are only two of us, and we have been mostly devoted to the project itself, this wiki is fairly sparse. We will provide further updates after iGEM 2015 to our site,

What is Sclerotite?

Sclerotite is a novel protein biocomposite formed from crosslinking many sclerotin precursors from various organisms. It is based on the Arthropod exoskeleton, which is made of sclerotin, a hard matrix of proteins linked via disulfide bonds. Eventually, we hope to make Sclerotite into a liquid material that can be hardened at construction sites much like concrete is, but far faster and without any of the negatives to the environment that concrete carries.

Our team's sole biologist, Jake, has been working for months to control the gene expression of our plasmid vectors in E. coli to produce a viable product. He believes it will take precise expression of the genes we have selected to make a replacement for concrete that isn't just stronger, cheaper, or cleaner than concrete, but also smarter.

Project points:

  • Biocomposite created from insect cuticle proteins.
  • Encoded by plasmids assembled via Gibson assembly and inserted into E. Coli cultures.
  • Eventually will be used to 3D print buildings for a fraction of the cost of a building today.
  • Virtually unprecedented in the market: major disruption potential!

Special thanks to...

  • IDT, for their generous donation of free custom synthesized DNA to all teams at iGEM 2015.
  • Jared Firl, for his ongoing financial and technical support throughout the project.
  • Dr. Kevin Johnson, for his kind mentorship and belief in our team.
  • All of our sponsors from GoFundMe!
  • Our incredibly supportive friends and family.