Benchling's 2020 Partnership with iGEM: Investing in the Next Generation of Biologists

Lily Helfrich

At Benchling, we're on a mission to accelerate the pace of life science research and to empower the scientists who carry it out. We've been very proud to support scientists around the globe — academics who pioneered CRISPR, biotechs that have produced novel lab-grown meat, and biopharma companies that are trying, at this very moment, to combat COVID-19.

Like CRISPR, lab-grown meat, and the soon-to-be diagnostics, therapies, and vaccines that will help us fight COVID-19, major scientific advances are the product of multiple, collaborative discoveries, of tireless exploration and commitment, and of creative scientific minds who identify problems and new ways to solve them. That's why, in addition to investing in today's most critical research, we believe it's worth investing in the next generation of researchers.

For the second year in a row, we're excited to announce our partnership with an organization that is training and molding the next generation of synthetic biologists: the iGEM Foundation. The iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization that is committed to advancing synthetic biology through hands-on education and friendly competition. iGEM and Benchling share similar goals: empowering scientists, building community, fostering collaboration, and pushing the cutting edge. While Benchling accomplishes these goals through software, iGEM accomplishes these goals through the iGEM Competition. Each year, iGEM tasks scientists — largely undergraduates — representing academic institutions around the world with identifying novel ways of applying synthetic biology to solve meaningful problems.

For the 2020 season, Benchling is sponsoring the iGEM Foundation and providing to all iGEM teams:

  • our core unified applications: Notebook and Molecular Biology

  • exclusive features and training resources

  • a platform that accelerates collaboration

Right now, given the global health situation and social distancing mandates, many iGEM teams aren't able to do benchwork. As a result, virtual collaboration is more important than ever. iGEM teams can still use Benchling to plan experiments, write protocols, model cloning and other benchwork in silico, and share all of their experimental designs with one another in seconds. When iGEM teams are able to go back into lab, they'll be ready to hit the ground running.

The iGEM Foundation brings together some of the brightest young minds in biology who identify creative projects — from developing "super probiotics," to developing genetic parts that are compatible with non-model organisms, to engineering climate resistance into plants. Many of the thousands of students who participate in this year's iGEM Competition will go on to pursue careers in academic biology or biotech. Benchling has no doubt that iGEM participants will help to shape our future: the medicines we rely on, the food we eat, the fuels that power our lives, and the materials that we use every day. Benchling is proud to support iGEM teams again this year and to partner with the iGEM Foundation toward our shared goals of advancing biology and enabling scientists.

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