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Graduate courses

Departments' graduate courses for PhD-students.


Syllabus for

Academic year
KBT225 - Synthetic biology - development of an iGEM project
Syntetisk biologi - utveckling av ett iGEM-projekt
Syllabus adopted 2019-02-12 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: MPBIO
7,5 Credits
Grading: UG - Pass, Fail
Education cycle: Second-cycle
Major subject: Bioengineering

Teaching language: English
Application code: 08130
Open for exchange students: No
Maximum participants: 15

Module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 Summer course No Sp
0112 Project 7,5 c Grading: UG   4,0 c 3,5 c    

In programs



Verena Siewers

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General entry requirements for Master's level (second cycle)
Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling the requirements above.

Specific entry requirements

English 6 (or by other approved means with the equivalent proficiency level)
Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling the requirements above.

Course specific prerequisites

Introductory courses in biotechnology/molecular biology or mathematics/informatics.


The aim of this course is to train students to work in interdisciplinary project teams. The students will learn to communicate their own knowledge to fellow students from different programs. This synergy is then used to develop novel project ideas based on the acquired knowledge with the ultimate goal to plan and devise a project for the iGEM (international genetically engineered machine) competition.

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to)

  • have a basic understanding of synthetic biology
  • communicate with researchers from a different scientific background
  • work in a multidisciplinary team
  • search, read and evaluate available literature
  • develop, evaluate and advertise project ideas
  • develop a detailed project plan
  • attract financial support


Besides basics in molecular biology and modeling the following synthetic biology specific topics will be covered:
  • Device and system design
  • DNA assembly methods
  • Device measurement
  • Devices for metabolic engineering
  • Computer-aided design
  • Mathematical models in synthetic biology
  • Synthetic regulatory networks


This interdisciplinary course is coupled to the Area of Advance Life Science. In this course, the students are required to design an iGEM ( project on which they are going to work during the actual competition period in the summer. The first part of the course will focus on acquiring the required background knowledge. Short lectures will be given to teach basics in molecular biology to the students with a mere mathematical background, while students with an ordinary biotechnological background will receive information about modeling. Furthermore, the students will study published synthetic biology approaches and previous iGEM projects and present them to the other course members.

In the second part of the course, the students are asked to form own project ideas. The ideas are presented and discussed within the group. After a topic is selected as iGEM project, the students will develop a detailed project plan. Preferably, the project will involve wet lab work as well as modeling parts.

Additional tasks for the students are the development and maintenance of a homepage as well as fund raising to be able to pay competition and jamboree registration fees, travel expenses to participate in the jamboree(s), and costs for reagents, DNA synthesis etc.

After finishing the course, the students will work on the practical part of the project, i.e. the actual iGEM competition, over the summer.

The course is meant to be conducted as an afternoon course, 2 h per week scheduled throughout the entire spring semester. The additional tasks mentioned above will however require an additional large effort from the students.


Relevant research articles, reviews, and previous iGEM project reports that will be handed out to the students or selected by the students themselves.

Examination including compulsory elements

The course is examined in the first part of the course by oral presentations of research articles and in the second part by oral presentation of project ideas and a written project plan.

Page manager Published: Thu 04 Feb 2021.