Experimenting with living cells

A team of Missouri S&T students recently created a breathalyzer using cultured yeast cells and an E. coli-infested bacterium that changes colors in response to the presence of sugar. But they weren’t trying to gross each other out with creepy inventions. They were participating in a competition at MIT last November.


The International Genetically Engineered Machine competition, or iGEM, pits 37 teams of university students against one another in the quest to develop genetically engineered machines designed to make living cells perform specific tasks not typically found in nature.
In the case of the breathalyzer, the students used their knowledge of biochemical reactions to make the yeast cells produce a visual response to the presence of ethanol. Then they engineered a device that could display an individual’s blood alcohol level.
“The iGEM students are learning skills that will have applications in the development of biosensors,” says David
J. Westenberg, associate professor of biological sciences at Missouri S&T and one of the team’s advisors.

Around the Puck

By the numbers: Fall/Winter 2018

8,607 Students enrolled for the fall semester at Missouri S&T. Classes started Aug. 20. 91 Percentage of first-year freshmen who receive scholarships and financial aid.

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Making tornado alley safer

Growing up in northeast China, Guirong “Grace” Yan didn’t see many tornados in a country where the number of documented twisters is a fraction of those that hit the United States. But as her academic career took Yan to several postdoctoral fellowships and then faculty positions in Indiana, Missouri and Texas, the assistant professor of […]

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This past November, Missouri S&T installed two new advanced lead battery microgrid systems at the EcoVillage, a “living laboratory” that is home to S&T’s solar-powered homes.

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Partners for progress

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Chancellor search is underway

This past August, University of Missouri President Mun Choi announced the formation of a 23-member committee to lead a nationwide search for a chancellor at Missouri S&T.

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