UTAH STATE UNIVERSITY

UVU Biotechnology team wins silver medal in Paris, France

Dec 13, 2023, 12:05 PM | Updated: May 30, 2024, 10:17 am

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A sign on the campus of Utah Valley University, where entrepreneur Jamie Kern Lima was a featured speaker for graduation. (Gabriel Mayberry/UVU Marketing)

(Gabriel Mayberry/UVU Marketing)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Valley University Biotechnology Team won a silver medal at a competition in Paris, France, for their research to reduce Utah Lake’s harmful algal blooms. 

The 13-member team presented their research at the International Genetically Engineered Machine Grand Jamboree competition. The competition was held from Nov. 2-5 in Paris and consisted of 400 teams from over 50 countries.

The presentation from the UVU team was titled “Preventing Utah Lake Cyanobacterial Blooms by Phosphorous and Nitrogen Sequestration.”

“This marks a watershed moment for UVU and our biotechnology program,” said Dr. Eric Domyan, faculty member and co-mentor of the UVU team in a release from UVU. 

According to the release, the research involves engineering harmless algae that would reduce the nitrogen and phosphorous in Utah Lake. Primarily, excess phosphorous, nitrogen, and other naturally occurring inorganic matter in lakes are a result of wastewater treatment plants and runoff fertilizers. 

Students choose the research topic because algal blooms are both a local and international issue. 

The release states that the long-term goal of the research is to turn that phosphorous into a marketable product. 

“We are eager to confront the challenges posed by the iGEM competition and apply our collective knowledge to address a critical environmental issue,” Dr. Domyan said. “The fact that this is our first time competing makes this journey even more momentous.” 

Founded in 2003, iGEM has over 60,000 young scientists and engineers participate. 

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UVU Biotechnology team wins silver medal in Paris, France