A graduate of Astana NIS PhM won a gold medal in the prestigious iGEM-2017 competition

A graduate of Astana NIS PhM (currently a student of Nazarbayev University) won a gold medal in the prestigious iGEM-2017 competition (competition in synthetic biology)

From 9th to 13th of November there was an international IGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) competition, which took place in the USA, in Boston, where teams from all over the world presented their creative and applied projects in the field of synthetic biology. This competition is one of the most reputable contests in this field; about 300 university teams from 44 countries of the world participate in it each year, including Ivy League teams.

Three students of Nazarbayev University the School of Science and Technology represented the team of Kazakhstan «NU Kazakhstan». Mariam Akizhanova,  graduate of Nazarbayev Intellectual School of Physics and Mathematics of Astana city in 2013 was a Vice-President among them. Mariam performed with dignity, presenting her unique project “Bioremediation of Cr (VI) from wastewater using microalgae”.

The essence of the project is the genetic modification of the microalgae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii for the purification of water from hexavalent chromium, which is harmful to human health. Contamination with hexavalent chromium is an acute environmental problem in Western Kazakhstan, where the maximum permissible concentration of chromium is exceeded by many times.

The members of the committee highly appreciated both the project itself and Mariam’s aspiration to solve the environmental problem in her country. Thanks to hard work during one and a half years under the guidance of Nazarbayev University professors Abdulla Mahbub (chemistry) and Ivan Vorobyov (biology), during 4 years of participation in iGEM, for the first time a Kazakhstan team managed to get a treasured gold, bypassing the teams of leading universities.